We have learned from our friends at Interfaith Worker Justice that U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) has proposed the Pay Stub Disclosure Act (HR 4376), a law that would mandate that all workers receive documentation of their pay. IWJ is asking worker advocates to call their local Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor this legislation. In our area the call should be made to the office of Congressman Bill Pascrell at 1-202-225-5751 or 201-935-2248 (local). His office is happy to receive the recommendation.
Too often, wage theft occurs when workers’ pay is illegally whittled down by undercounting the hours they worked, paying illegal wage rates or taking unauthorized deductions. Requiring that employers document the payments with pay stubs would make a major difference in capturing stolen wages.
Wage theft in America costs countless workers billions of dollars every year. Just this week we learned of a worker who was injured on the job and went to his employer to give information for a workers comp claim. The worker was perfectly happy with his employer and only wanted to cooperate in a way that would guarantee that he would be able to return to work when he was well.
While there, however, we learned that although he was registered as working a regular 8 hour, 5 day a week shift, he in fact worked much more than 8 hours, often 6 or 7 days, and never received overtime pay. He was usually paid in cash but the employer was suggesting he could pay him with a check for half the week’s wages, and in cash for the balance, while he was disabled.
The worker had no complaints about this. He just wanted to be sure the job would be there for him when he was well.
Many other workers receive far less positive treatment. A study by Dr. Hung-en Sung of workers in Palisades Park that 160 day laborers surveyed reported 728 separate incidences of wage theft, resulting in $238,112 in back wages owed; and very few were able to recoup their losses. Our wage theft committee assists a number of people trying to file claims or otherwise negotiate, but these time-and-labor intensive negotiations often do not result in positive outcomes.
A simple two-minute call to Rep. Pascrell’s office will lend a helping hand in this difficult struggle.