With as much as $1 billion in wages taken from Bay State workers yearly, lawmakers are trying — once more — to vary the regulation to assist their constituents get the cash they’ve labored so onerous to earn from unscrupulous employers.
A pair of payments filed by Rep. Daniel Donahue and Sen. Sal DiDomenico heard by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development on Tuesday would empower the Attorney General to take motion on behalf of workers in search of misplaced wages and permit her workplace to research complaints of wage theft and take civil motion in opposition to employers who steal from their employees.
According to AG Andrea Campbell, it’s an issue her workplace hears about ceaselessly.
“Our Fair Labor team continues to receive a high volume of reports of violations. In Fiscal Year 2023, we received 13,000 calls and fielded over 6,600 complaints,” she advised the committee.
Under consideration are H1868 and S1158, or An Act to forestall wage theft, promote employer accountability, and improve public enforcement.
The payments, if made regulation, might present aid to victims of a observe that Stephen Tolman, President of the Massachusetts AFL–CIO, mentioned yearly quantities to almost $1 billion in wages being “deliberately stolen out of workers’ pockets.”
When a employee isn’t paid what they’re owed, Tolman testified, it forces them and their households to make “impossible decisions, like paying the bills or buying groceries. That’s real, and it’s been going on for far too long.”
According to Campbell’s testimony, the present regulation isn’t actually serving to employees when their employers stiff them on pay.
“We ordered over $4.2M to be put back into the pockets of 10,400 workers. We mandated that violators pay $9.2 M in penalties to the General Fund,” she testified.
If you do the maths between what the AG says her workplace was in a position to assist recoup, in comparison with what Tolman mentioned was taken final 12 months, which means the present regulation enabled employees to collectively get better lower than half-a-percent of their misplaced wages.
Changing the regulation would assist Campbell’s workplace go after violators and see employees made entire, she mentioned.
“This bill would improve and enhance the tools used by my office to address wage theft,” the AG testified.
An identical regulation was proposed in each earlier periods of the Legislature and in 2015.
In November of 2020, that 12 months’s invoice was reported favorably by the Labor and Workforce Development committee earlier than being despatched to Ways and Means, the place it died.
The following try met an identical destiny.
Lawmakers listening to testimony on Tuesday didn’t tip their arms as to whether or not they had been going to ship the invoice to their colleagues once more.