Steps for the St. Pete’s Wage Theft Protection Program

BY DARDEN RICE, Vice Chair of St. Pete City Council
Posted on October 13, 2016 by TWC

ST. PETERSBURG – St. Petersburg’s Wage Theft Prevention Program has been underway for the past year. “Wage theft” is a broad term that includes any type of non-payment or underpayment by an employer. It can take the form of loss of overtime, illegal tip practices, being paid less than minimum wage and independent contractor misclassification.

According to a study conducted by Florida International University, Pinellas County has the fourth highest rate of wage theft in the state.

When unscrupulous businesses cheat their workers our economy suffers. Honest businesses are losing profits by being forced to compete against unethical businesses that have an unfair advantage. Workers are struggling to pay their bills and cannot afford to put money back into the local economy. All taxpayers suffer when employers refuse to pay their fair share into Social Security and workers’ compensation insurance by misclassifying their employees as independent contractors. The St. Petersburg Wage Theft Prevention Program sees these impacts first-hand on a daily basis.

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Report: Wage theft on the rise in Bay area

Sarah Hagen, WTSP6:43 p.m. EDT

March 20, 2015

 

 

St. Petersburg, Florida — Could you be a victim of wage theft? It’s when an employer doesn’t pay in full, fails to pay minimum wage, ignores overtime pay, makes you work through meal breaks or pays late.

“Pushing for a wage theft ordinance in St. Pete will make bad businesses think twice before cheating employees,” said councilwoman Darden Rice. She adds, it’s the many personal stories like Scott Snurpus’ that have motivated her for change

“Once I realized I was being robbed I was mad,” says Snurpus who was working as an electrician. He says his temp agency was wrongly taking money from his paycheck to pay for equipment. Since then the US Labor Board got involved and he’s gotten his money back.

Rice says certain industries are more likely to target victims “Low-wage industries: fast food workers, nursing homes, construction workers,” she says.

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