Bloomberg Law for HR Professionals is a complete, one-stop resource, continuously updated, providing HR professionals with fast answers to a wide range of domestic and international human resources...
NEW YORK--Enforcement of minimum wage and overtime laws by the states varies widely and may suffer from budget constraints just as the numbers of low-wage workers are rising, according to a study by a Columbia Law School program.
The study by the law school's National Attorneys General Program, completed in early April and released May 2, noted that 45 states have minimum wage laws, including 16 setting a rate higher than the federal minimum, and 32 have overtime laws.
But “the mere existence” of state wage and hour laws does not mean their standards will be met, the study said, pointing to “pervasive violation” of both federal and state laws.
“Without meaningful enforcement by state regulators, some employers will simply disregard their legal obligations, putting the majority who abide by the law at a significant competitive disadvantage,” the report said. “This creates a regulatory race to the bottom by states as they seek to compete to attract businesses.”
Among 37 states and the District of Columbia responding to a survey questionnaire, all but a few saw a large increase in the number of low-wage workers in 2009, while wage and hour enforcement resources were frozen or cut in most states, the report found.
“If it is true that more low-wage workers will generate more wage and hour violations, then state wage and hour regulators are being stretched ever thinner in their efforts to enforce the law,” it said.
Only about one-third of the states have discrete wage and hour enforcement units, with most assigning primary enforcement responsibility to a labor agency with additional areas to cover, the report found.
In Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi, survey respondents reported that the state has no enforcement agency but refers complaints to federal regulators or private attorneys, the study said.
Among the other states, the state attorney general's office was most frequently cited as providing substantive support to wage and hour enforcement, the study found. In Massachusetts and New York, offices of the attorney general have their own investigative and enforcement authority, it said.
Individual claims by employees were the most common method of detecting wage and hour violations, with only Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York making significant use of other procedures, the study found. Several states said they lacked the budget and staff to do more than handle individual complaints, it said.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)