Wage theft is stealing, hurting vulnerable workers (MN)

APR 27, 2017

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been shedding some light recently on wage theft in Minnesota. She has been urging the Legislature to pass legislation cracking down on wage theft this session. She took part in a Capitol rally in February and on Wednesday she joined legislators and Minnesota workers in a roundtable discussion.

According to Smith, wage theft occurs when employers do not pay workers what is owed to them for work performed. According to Smith, more than 39,000 Minnesota workers lose out on nearly $12 million in unpaid wages each year.

“Wage theft is stealing. It’s not how we do business in Minnesota,” Smith said Tuesday.

She says Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal would strengthen workers’ rights and crack down on non-abiding employers.

It proposes the following:

* Providing funding to enforce wage theft protections
* Defining the law by making it clear wage theft is wrong and illegal
* Give investigators the power to subpoena documents
* Require notice of information to be provided to employees at the start of employment, including rate of pay, the legal name of the employer and the employer’s address and phone number
* Creating stiffer penalties to prevent and crack down on wage theft
* Increasing the fines for willful and repeated violations of wage theft laws from $1,000 to $10,000 per violation
* Requiring employers pay employees every 16 days rather than every 31. Under current law, an employee could work 41 days without knowing whether they are going to be paid or not.

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