Wage theft is more common than armed robbery in our country and three times as costly to the economy. Here in Massachusetts, wage theft costs individual workers more than $1 billion a year in earned wages. This hurts our communities and all the state’s taxpayers. The Responsible Development Coalition, consisting of responsible developers, contractors, and the Carpenters Union, believes that the Legislature must act in the new session to end the practice, hold violators accountable, and promote responsible development in the Commonwealth.
Wage theft occurs when employers willfully break employment laws and regulations to increase their own profit. Wage theft infractions, from not paying overtime, requiring off-the-clock work, and, sometimes, not paying workers at all happen every day here in Massachusetts. This equates to over $50 billion nationwide that should be going into worker paychecks but instead stays in company owners’ pockets.
Businesses that engage in wage theft as well as paying their employees in cash “under the table” often violate other rules as well, like minimum wage requirements or safety rules. Too often, dishonest general contractors allow subcontractors they hire to break employment laws because it means more profits for themselves. This hurts not only the workers, but honest contractors who play by the rules.
Massachusetts, a leader on so many other issues, has largely been a spectator to this criminal activity, and leaders have been reluctant to act. But why? While our neighbors in New York just passed the most stringent anti-wage-theft legislation in the nation, Massachusetts permits bad actors to cut corners to turn a higher profit. Local initiatives in Cleveland, Ohio, and Austin, Texas, are taking steps to eliminate this practice.
Across Massachusetts, workers are being exploited while the concerns of our communities are ignored. Many municipalities have taken action due to the delays at the state level. Lynn, Somerville, Framingham, and Northampton are just a few of the communities showing true leadership on this issue.
Should you be a victim of wage theft by your employer, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.