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Thursday, August 13, 2015

During the first seven months of 2015, $18,143,000 was returned to nearly 19,000 workers who originally were not paid the proper minimum wage, overtime pay or fringe benefits, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office.

The wage returns are a six percent increase over the same time period last year, putting the state on pace to beat the record $30.2 million disbursed to 27,000 in 2014.

In Western New York alone, 2,090 people were returned $736,000 in lost wages.

“New York has zero tolerance for those who seek to deny an honest day's pay for an honest day's work," Governor Cuomo said. “We will continue to aggressively protect workers from exploitation and crack down on wage theft in all of its forms.”

The New York State Department of Labor’s Worker Protection Division, which investigates wage theft, is processing cases more expeditiously than ever before — meaning more workers receive money owed to them faster. These improvements are due, in part, to policy and operational improvements, such as referring more cases to compliance conferences to expedite a resolution. More than 80 percent of all investigations are now completed within six months. Currently, there are approximately 2,500 cases in active investigation.

In addition, as part of his administration’s focus on worker protection, last month Governor Cuomo announced a Task Force to Combat Worker Exploitation that will focus on rooting out worker abuse in New York State. Workers are often victimized through wage theft, human trafficking, retaliation, unsafe or unsanitary working conditions, unstable or unscheduled hours and illegal deductions for supplies, training or uniforms. The Task Force will begin by addressing these issues that were discovered based on worker complaints made directly to the State or referrals from advocacy organizations.

Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino, said, “Not paying workers the proper wages is against the law and is stealing. Those employees who have experienced wage theft can count on the Department of Labor to take swift action to protect their rights.”

Anyone with questions about minimum wage or other labor standards issues, or who would like to file a complaint, should call 888-4-NYSDOL (469-7365).

For more information about wage theft recovery in New York State, visit:

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