$15 minimum wage not a win for all, says Bureau of Labor Statistics

New York state — have managed to raise wages for employees to a $15-per-hour minimum, the Bureau of Labor Statistics warns that many businesses underpaid their workers even when the minimum wage was lower. The Bureau stated that in 2014, employers failed to pay up to 1.7 million workers the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, though the Department of Labor estimates that the actual number of those who are illegally underpaid is much higher. The Department is not hopeful that increased minimum wages will inspire those businesses to raise their employees’ wages. “It is very important to pass those minimum wage increases,” said David Weil, U.S. Labor Department Wage and Hour administrator. “Then, how do we make sure workers really receive them?” The Department’s investigators have been cracking down on businesses that fail to pay fair wages, however. Last fiscal year, it managed to bring almost $270 million in back wages to more than 270,000 underpaid employees, though it is only able to police federal minimum wages, and can do little for employees who are supposed to receive more than $7.25 per hour under state or city laws. “If there is not a credible threat of a compliance check, then what happens?” asked UCLA Labor Center researcher Tia Koonse. Employees that are being underpaid can file complaints to their state or federal Labor Department, or can file a lawsuit against their employer. However, for those who are afraid of losing their jobs, or those who are undocumented, doing so may seem just too risky.]]>

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