By Michelle D. Wyrick
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently released enforcement statistics for fiscal years 2009 through 2013. Of particular note to employers, the Wage and Hour Division continues to process a high number of wage and hour complaints, with a particular focus on workers in low-wage industries. Conversely, the number of Family and Medical Leave Act cases has decreased over the last two fiscal years.
According to the enforcement statistics, in fiscal year 2013, the Wage and Hour Division collected approximately $250,000,000 in back wages in wage and hour cases. That number represents a small decrease from the back wages collected in fiscal year 2012 but is still the second highest amount collected since fiscal year 2004. In addition, the number of enforcement hours spent on wage and hour complaints has risen substantially over the last four fiscal years.
The statistics also highlight back wages recovered for workers in low-wage industries. These industries include agriculture, day care, restaurants, garment manufacturing, guard services, health care, hotels and motels, janitorial services, and temporary help. The number of cases filed against employers in low-wage industries continues to increase. Likewise, the amount of back wages recovered for workers in low-wage industries rose significantly during the last two fiscal years ($83,051,160 and $97,912,954, respectively).
Until there is a change in the administration, employers should expect the Wage and Hour Division to continue to emphasize enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act, with a priority on workers in low-wage industries.