$4.5 million per year collected in wage restitution; robbers haul in $2 million per year
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 28, 2014) — More than twice as much money is improperly withheld from Kentucky workers than the amount criminals haul in from robberies during any given year. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet collects $4.5 million in wage restitution each year for an average of 12,264 workers, compared to the $2 million taken each year from robberies from an average of 1,937 victims.
“You hear about robberies on the news all the time, but wage theft is a bigger problem,” said Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts. “Wage theft happens every day in Kentucky, and it impacts numerous industries and multiple types of workers. Not only are employees cheated, but taxpayers are as well, because no payroll taxes are paid on that money unless the Labor Cabinet collects it as restitution for the employees.”
Examples of wage theft are: Unpaid overtime; withheld final paychecks; illegal deductions of pay; lower pay than the legal minimum wage requirement; misclassification of workers as independent contractors; unpaid breaks; time-clock shaving; mandatory tip-pooling; prevailing wage violations. Many wage theft cases go unreported because victims are unaware they are being cheated.
In Kentucky there are 15 wage and hour field inspectors to cover the 1.9 million wage-earners in Kentucky. This means there is one investigator for every 126,600 workers.
The Labor Cabinet used information from the Kentucky State Police’s annual report, Crime in Kentucky, to compare robbery totals to the latest wage restitution amounts for the past three years in Kentucky.
The total value of items taken during all robberies was $2,568,236 for 2013, $2,131,150 for 2012 and $1,454,190 for 2011. The average amount for those three years was $2,051,192.
For wage restitution, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet collected $4,376,588 in 2013, $6,035,364 in 2012 and $3,260,501 in 2011. Those three years averaged $4,557,484 in wage restitution each year.
For all robberies in Kentucky, including banks, chain and convenience stores, homes, commercial offices, highway/street and miscellaneous robberies, there were 5,813 offenses combined during the last three years, for an average of 1,937 a year. For wage theft from 2011-13, there were 36,794 employees who were victims, for an average of 12,264 each year.
Employees who suspect they are victims of wage theft can fill out a wage and hour complaint form on the Labor Cabinet website.