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New York State Department of Labor

Governor Cuomo Announces the Recovery of Over $25 Million In Lost Wages During First 10 Months of 2015

Amount On Pace to Exceed Record High for Funds Returned to Workers

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Albany, NY (November 04, 2015) -

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that during the first 10 months of 2015, New York State recouped and returned $25.1 million to approximately 22,600 workers who originally were not paid the proper minimum wage, overtime pay or fringe benefits. This amount puts the state on pace to exceed the record $30.2 million disbursed to 27,000 workers in 2014.

"New York has zero tolerance for worker exploitation and those who seek to deny a fair day's pay for a fair day's work," Governor Cuomo said. "We will continue to crack down on unscrupulous employers who disregard the law and ensure employees are paid what they earn."

Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has made it a top priority to combat the exploitation of workers in New York State. During this time, the New York State Department of Labor’s Worker Protection Division has completed wage theft investigations more expeditiously than ever, allowing workers to receive money they are owed at a faster rate. More than 80 percent of all investigations are now completed within six months.

Below is a regional breakdown of the $25.1 million in returned funds:

January 2015 - October 2015
Region Disbursed Individuals Paid

Capital Region

$830,000

2915

Central New York

$450,000

980

Finger Lakes

$500,000

1806

Long Island

$3,500,000

1986

New York City

$15,500,000

8678

Mid-Hudson

$1,510,000

1278

Mohawk Valley

$85,100

627

North Country

$98,200

324

Southern Tier

$209,000

293

Western New York

$933,000

2290


The remaining $1.48 million is paid out through state-wide investigations that cover multiple regions.

Acting State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "The New York State Department of Labor is committed to protecting workers. No amount of wage theft is acceptable and I urge any worker who has been victimized to come forward and file a complaint with the Department."

Governor Cuomo has also established a Task Force to Combat Worker Exploitation to confront ways in which workers are victimized, including wage theft, human trafficking, retaliation, unsafe or unsanitary working conditions, unstable or unscheduled hours and illegal deductions for supplies, training or uniforms.

This first-of-its-kind statewide task force is composed of 10 State agencies and will focus enforcement efforts on industries with the highest rates of employer non-compliance and where workers are least likely to come forward for fear of retaliation. Last month, the State announced a new Anti-Retaliation Unit and a Mediation Unit to give workers the confidence to step forward with complaints of wage theft and other violations and to expedite resolution of investigations. The Task Force held its first meeting in October and will be holding several more by year's end before it makes its recommendations.

Anyone with questions about minimum wage or any issues related to suspected worker abuse or who would like to file a complaint, should call the Exploited Worker Task Force Hotline: 888-469-7365.

For more information about wage theft recovery in New York State, visit: www.labor.ny.gov/wagetheft.

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