Cambridge Takes Steps to Protect Workers from Wage Theft (MA)

Richard Rogers and Darlene Lombos

This week, workers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, gained new protections for making sure they are paid fairly and on time. On March 14, city manager Richard Rossi signed an executive order establishing certification requirements for vendors bidding on city contracts. The measure seeks to prevent wage theft, which is the improper withholding of payment from employees and the failure to pay employees according to required schedules. Wage theft most often involves employers paying less than the minimum, contracted or prevailing wage, not paying for all hours worked, or not paying overtime for hours exceeding 40 per week. But wage theft can take many forms—employers may never send the final paycheck or may misclassify workers as independent contractors.

“This executive order is a clear indication of Cambridge’s continuing commitment to wage justice,” Rossi said. “The provisions put into effect today provide the city the protections that are needed to ensure that we are dealing with quality contractors. We have created a simple and fair process for both the city and for our contractors.”

Under the executive order, vendors bidding on city contracts will be required to certify their compliance with federal and state wage law with the city, and if the vendors have previous violations, they are required to disclose them and provide a wage bond for the duration of the contract. These measures strengthen the city’s ability to hire vendors that treat their employees fairly.

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