Saturday, February 7, 2015

Many U.S. Workers Still Get Below Minimum Wage

The state of California since last July implemented the $9 per hour minimum wage, which is expected to increase to $10 per hour effective next year. This affects almost all employees (with the exception of learners and the mentally or physically disabled). Employers then were required to give notice to their employees a week before the implementation in the form of a written notice.

However, a recent study from the Labor Department showed that between 3.5 and 6.5 percent of wage and salary workers in California and New York are being paid less than the required minimum wage. The study also found that most violators were from the restaurant and hotel industries, followed by educational and health services, and also the retail and wholesale businesses. These violations were found to amount to as much as $20 million to $29 million of lost income per week.

The study, furthermore, discovered that in the Current Population Survey, 7,000 families in California are living below the poverty line due to minimum-wage violations, while data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation discovered that an estimated 41,000 families have been living in poverty due to these violations.

Employees, with the help of their attorneys, are entitled to sue their employers if they are found to have been customarily paying below (required) minimum wage salaries. Employers are required under the law to pay liquidated damages, in addition to existing penalties, as well as financial compensation to an employee for losses resulting from their failure to pay the required minimum wage.

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