Defaulting Risks: Wage Theft puts Philly Workers in Weak Situation
Throughout Philadelphia and the nation, an epidemic of wage theft leaves workers wondering why they’re not getting what’s owed them, reports The Philaldelphia Citizen.
The Sheller Center for Social Justice at the Temple University Beasley School of Law issued a report in 2015 on wage theft in Pennsylvania. The report discussed the various types of wage theft, including minimum wage violations, overtime violations, illegal deductions from a worker’s paycheck, undercounting of hours worked, and delayed or missed payments. The authors estimate that in a given workweek, 397,673 low-wage Pennsylvania workers experience a minimum wage violation, while 326,647 workers experience an overtime violation, and 257,204 workers are not paid for off-the-clock work before and after their shift.
These workers lose 15 percent of their earnings due to wage theft, leading their families to make tough decisions, “such as whether to forego purchasing food or face the consequences of unpaid bills for housing, utilities, and health care.”
The Philadelphia Citizen tells a real story: an estimated 49 percent of beauty, dry cleaning and general repair workers and 66.3 percent of childcare workers in Pennsylvania are victims of minimum wage violations in a given week. In addition, 67.8 percent of cooks, dishwashers and food preparers and 86 percent of stock office clerks and couriers are denied overtime pay, and 72.5 percent of building services and grounds workers and 90.4 percent of home healthcare workers face off-the-clock wage violations.
“Clearly wage theft is a problem for people living paycheck to paycheck when you can’t pay your bills and your rent, and you’re struggling,” says Nadia Hewka, staff attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. According to Hewka, the most common wage theft culprits include small mom and pop pizza places, small restaurants, green grocers and delis, home healthcare and childcare, and low wage, unregulated environments where there is no union in place and no one to monitor the employer’s activities.
As reported in The Philadelphia Citizen.