- Employers paid a record $322 million in fiscal year 2019 to resolve wage and hour claims brought by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
- WHD also said it set a new record of more than 3,700 compliance outreach events in FY 2019, including presentations and trainings.
- "We are delivering more back wages for workers than ever before, and we are steadfastly eliminating any unfair economic advantage employers may try to gain by skirting the rules," said WHD Administrator Cheryl Stanton in a press release. "We are protecting those who do the right thing, pay their employees what they have legally earned, and operate in compliance."
WHD reported that during the past five years it recovered more than $1.4 billion in back wages for more than 1.3 million workers.
But in the spirit of the Trump administration's preference for "compliance assistance," the agency also said it recognizes that "the vast majority of employers want to play by the rules." To that end, it provides various compliance resources for employers, including a regulatory library, elaws advisors, and a timesheet app.
The agency also recently launched its voluntary Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which allows employers to surface and resolve overtime and minimum wage violations. Experts are split on whether it's a good idea for employers to participate; so far, 74 employers have taken part and paid out more than $4 million in back wages to almost 7,500 workers.
For employers hoping to stay off WHD's radar, it may be important to review frequent pain points. Overtime errors, worker misclassification, and auto-deduct policies are all frequent trouble spots. Employers can stay out of hot water by keeping up on applicable federal, state and local laws, and by training front-line managers on compliant timekeeping practices and policies.