Melin Introduces Bill Combating Wage Theft

Costs American Workers $30 Billion Annually

Today Representative Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing), joined by victims of wage theft, announced legislation combating wage theft.

“The American dream is about working hard and pursuing a better life,” said Rep. Melin. “But people across Minnesota are held back by employers who deny overtime pay, refuse to pay employees for the hours worked, or don’t pay minimum wage. This is how wage theft holds back people who are working to make ends meet.”

A report by the Economic Policy Institute shows wage theft costs American workers over $30 billion a year.

In 2012 the FBI reported every robbery, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft cost less than $14 billion.

“The Iron Range was built on immigrate labor over 100 years ago. Wage theft was happening then and it is happening now. That is really unfortunate and disheartening and it is time we fixed the problem.”

The legislation, authored by Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) and Rep. Carly Melin:

• Increases penalties for wage theft from double to triple of the amount owed to the employee.
• Provides criminal penalties for employers who willfully or repeatedly violate this law.
• Ensures all wage theft complaints are confidential.
• Extends the statute of limitations on all wage theft to 6 years.
• Allows the state to revoke a business’ license for non-compliance or multiple abuses in paying back lost wages.
• Requires employers who violate this law to post a bond to prove they have the ability to pay wages.
• Provides for grants to community organizations to help educate workers about their rights and how to recoup lost wages.
• Creates a wage recovery fund as a contingency to ensure workers receive the wages owed to them.
• Protects workers from employer retaliation.
• At last brings Minnesota into federal conformity with the 40-hour workweek.

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