BOSTON- Senator Sal DiDomenico recently testified before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development in support of H.1748/S.966, “An Act to prevent wage theft and promote employer accountability.” Senator DiDomenico is the lead sponsor of this bill in the Massachusetts Senate. Wage theft is the illegal practice of not paying workers for all of their work through means such as violating minimum wage laws, not paying overtime, or forcing workers to work off the clock.
“The practice of wage theft comes in many different forms, but they all have the common denominator of hurting workers, their families, and our communities,” said Senator DiDomenico. “This bill takes crucial steps to protect workers from this illicit practice and to hold employers accountable. I urge my colleagues in the Legislature to act on wage theft legislation to ensure that the hard working men and women of the Commonwealth receive the pay they have earned and rightfully deserve.”
The practice of wage theft is pervasive throughout the Massachusetts economy. Too often, workers find that they have been paid below the minimum wage, or that they haven’t been fully compensated for their actual number of hours worked. Furthermore, many workers who are by all definitions employees may be misclassified as “independent contractors,” cheating them out of minimum or prevailing wages, and leaving them on the hook for medical costs if they are injured on the job. In addition, employers may undermine legitimate businesses by avoiding taxes and not paying into critical safety nets for workers, putting an unfair burden on the Commonwealth when workers have a legitimate right to utilize these programs.
This legislation filed by Senator DiDomenico will help to prevent wage theft and promote employer accountability by establishing that lead employers are responsible for upholding labor standards; pre-existing labor laws and enforcement mechanisms are difficult or impossible to apply in the new economic landscape of multi-layered employment relationships. Furthermore, this bill provides additional tools for the Attorney General’s office, including the ability to issue Stop Work Orders and seek treble damages on behalf of workers, to hold violators fully accountable and recover what was wrongfully taken from workers and from the state.
An Act to prevent wage theft and promote employers accountability currently sits before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.