[X] close video player
This video requires Adobe Flash Player
New York State Department of Labor

Governor Cuomo Announces $30 Million in Recovered Wages

Record Amount Disbursed to More Than 27K Workers for 2014

play video alt txt

Albany, NY (February 04, 2015) -

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new record in 2014 for the amount of money returned to workers who originally were not paid the proper minimum wage, overtime pay or fringe benefits. In 2014, $30.2 million was disbursed to nearly 27,000 workers – more than any previous year and a 35 percent increase in recovered funds over 2013.

“No one should be cheated out of their hard-earned wages, and as these numbers show, our administration is making a difference for workers across the State by actively cracking down on wage theft,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m proud to say that investigators recovered more stolen wages in 2014 than ever before – which means more money stays with the hard-working men and women who earned it in the first place.”

The Department of Labor’s Division of Labor Standards, 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.

The agency has had a marked downturn in the number of cases under investigation and more than 85 percent of all investigations are now completed within six months.

Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino said, “Every person who works should be paid according to the law. The Department of Labor is committed to educating businesses and workers about their rights and responsibilities and cracking down on employers who knowingly break the law.”

Region

Amount Disbursed

Individuals Paid

Average Payout

Capital Region

$1,200,000

2,026

$592.30

Central New York

$430,000

1,020

$421.57

Finger Lakes

$1,300,000

1,144

$1,136.36

New York City

$18,800,000

13,921

$1,350.48

Long Island

$3,500,000

2,209

$1,584.43

Mid Hudson

$1,600,000

1,611

$993.17

Mohawk Valley

$190,000

426

$446.01

North Country

$84,000

376

$223.40

Southern Tier

$300,000

320

$937.50

Western New York

$900,000

1,588

$566.75


Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. said, “The vast majority of New York businesses comply with the state’s wage laws. For those that do not, it is important for workers that we enforce the law, and important for businesses that we level the playing field. I applaud the Department of Labor for its efforts to educate businesses and protect workers’ rights.”

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said, “We commend the Department of Labor for its efforts in 2014 to recover workers’ stolen wages. Low-wage workers who are struggling just to survive in New York should never have their wages stolen. The Department’s role in stepping up its enforcement goes a long way to help end this practice and to protect New York’s working women and men.”

Karen Cacace, Supervising Attorney for the Employment Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society, said, “Department of Labor investigators should be commended for working hard to reduce the backlog. Moving quickly in investigations is key to early resolution of wage theft claims. Employers need to know there will be swift consequences. The Department should use every tool available to enforce the labor laws to their fullest and ensure that exploitative employers are held fully accountable for their actions.”

Nicole Salk, Senior Staff Attorney at South Brooklyn Legal Services, said, “We are pleased to see that investigations and compliance conferences are occurring at a much faster pace, which has led to significant and measurable results for many workers who have been denied wages they have worked hard to earn. For many workers, the Department of Labor is the only place they can go to get justice when their wages are stolen. The work the Department does is not only important for workers but also for good employers who follow the law and are undercut by competitors who fail to pay their workers correctly.”

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).

###

Get Adobe Reader