Friday, September 4, 2009

Low wage workers are often cheated, study says

Attached is a link to a New York Times article detailing a new study based upon workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The gist of the study is that low wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, which is against the law.

Some of the specifics of the study indicate that sixty eight percent (68%) of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay related violation in the previous work week. The typical worker had lost Fifty One Dollars ($51.00) the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of Three Hundred and Thirty Nine Dollars ($339.00) per week. That translates into a fifteen percent (15%) loss of pay for that specific week. For low wage workers, this is a significant amount of loss.

The survey included 4,387 workers from various low wage industries including para manufacturing, child care and discount retailing.

One of the most surprising findings that relate to the workers' compensation practice at Carroll & Carroll, P.C. was that only eight percent (8%) of those who suffered serious injuries on the job filed for workers' compensation to pay for medical care and missed days of work. This is obviously due to the fact that employers are very good at pressuring low wage workers into not filing claims or just completely misleading their injured employees.

Some of the other findings in the study: seventy six percent (76%) of those who had worked overtime the week before were not paid their proper overtime. Twenty six percent (26%) of the workers had been paid less than the minimum wage the week before being surveyed. Further, one in seven had worked off the clock the previous week.

In instances where the employee was injured and workers' compensation should have been applied, the study found that one third (1/3) of all injured workers had to pay the work related medical bills out of their own pocket and that workers' compensation insurance paid medical expenses for only six percent (6%) of the injured workers surveyed.

This study clearly demonstrates the need for more enforcement of wage and hour laws. It also clearly demonstrates why our workers' compensation practice is so busy.

1 comment:

Media Mentions said...

Maybe an increase in the minimum wage would help (, but I do agree that min-wage workers are often, well, mistreated.