The Department of Labor is cracking down on wage and hour violations.
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced yesterday that the department has hired an additional 250 wage and hour investigators, boosting staffing by one third to respond more quickly to complaints and undertake more targeted enforcement.
"There is no excuse for employers who disregard federal labor standards – especially those that are designed to protect the most vulnerable in the workplace," said Solis in a statement. "The failure to comply with these basic labor standards means that workers are not receiving the money they have earned."
In the past three months, the Labor Department has brought two enforcement cases that resulted in the recovery of nearly $2 million in back wages for 500 workers.
The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division administers the Fair Labor Act, which sets standards for minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor. The act applies to companies with at least $500,000 in annual business.
It also covers domestic service workers, such as day workers, housekeepers, chauffeurs, cooks, or full‑time babysitters, if they receive at least $1,700 in 2009 in cash wages from one employer in a calendar year, or if they work a total of more than eight hours a week for one or more employers.
Next year, the department plans to launch a national public awareness campaign titled "We Can Help" to inform workers about their rights.