A recent report from Sheller Center for Social Justice in Pennsylvania asserts that employers in the state are participating in large-scale wage-theft practices. These practices occur in the form of minimum-wage violations, unpaid overtime, stolen tips, illegal pay deductions and other tactics. The report claims an estimated 128,576 workers experience a minimum wage violation, 105,458 experience an overtime violation and 83,344 experience an off-the-clock violation every week.
Wage theft takes numerous forms in Pennsylvania. Some employers illegally deduct wages from their employees’ paycheck to cover the cost of uniforms, gas and other supplies necessary to perform the job, or make workers pay for such things out of pocket. Another major form of wage violation in PA is employers not paying workers the overtime they are due. In some cases, employers deliberately mislead employees about their right to overtime compensation. Employer tactics to evade paying overtime include drafting confusing employment policies and misclassifying workers as ‘independent contractors” who are not protect by overtime laws.
Currently, Community Legal Services is working with the city council in Philadelphia that would increase penalties and prevent businesses from getting business licensees if they commit wage theft.