Everyone has certain wage rights that are protected under both state and federal laws. Despite the information on this being widely available, many employers still think they can ignore the rules.
As an employee, you might be thankful just to have a job or have better things to do than spend your days researching employment laws. Yet, when you investigate, you might discover your employer has been cheating you out of wages for years. If so, you would not be alone.
Many employers pay below minimum wage
A 2017 report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reveals that wage theft is widespread among companies that employ low-wage workers. While they only looked at 10 states, the results would likely be similar for Kentucky and all other states. Here is what they found:
- 17% of workers received less than the legal minimum
- The average employee lost $64 a week
While the investigation only focused on minimum wage workers, employers can and do steal the wages from people at all levels. It is more common among lower-paid workers because there are more ways to do it, and they are less likely to complain than someone higher up.
Here are some ways employers avoid paying the wages they should:
- They do not pay overtime due at the correct rate
- They put you to work a few minutes early or keep you a few minutes late
- They cut into your break times
- They classify you as a subcontractor rather than an employee
- They refuse to put agreed pay rises into place on time
- They miscalculate commissions and bonus
When you give your time to a company in exchange for money, you have a right to expect they will comply with wage and hour laws. If you snipped away at the hours you worked, they would soon pull you up for it, and you have the right to do the same when they snip away at your pay.