By Jeff Stahla
POSTED: 01/24/2015 11:42:50 PM MST
When the Wage Protection Act went into effect Jan. 1 of this year, it gave the state of Colorado additional tools and authority to address the problem of wage theft.
The act requires employers to keep payroll records for up to three years and gives the Colorado Department of Labor the authority “to mediate situations that are just misunderstandings, investigate when there’s actual wrongdoing, and bring justice,” Rep. Jonathan Singer, a co-sponsor of the act, told the Associated Press.
That includes possible fines against employers who fail to respond to complaints and who are found to have illegally withheld wages from employees who earned them.
The number of state employees involved in investigations is increasing from four to nine, as part of the new law.
The need is clear. The state department of labor has been receiving an average of 5,000 complaints per year, and it has recovered about $1 million in unpaid wages to date, according to a recent I-News report.