Sunday, November 29, 2009

Low-wage workers are often cheated, study says

Low-wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, according to a survey of workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The study, the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade, also found that 68% of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week.

In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries (including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing), the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15% loss in pay.

The researchers said one of the most surprising findings was how successful low-wage employers were in pressuring workers not to file for workers’ compensation. Only 8% of those who suffered serious injuries on the job filed for compensation to pay for medical care and missed days at work stemming from those injuries.

Read the study, "Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers," here.

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