Minnesota workers cheered on Lt. Governor Tina Smith and other legislators at a wage theft rally in the Capitol Rotunda this week. According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, 39,000 Minnesotans are impacted by wage theft across the state. That amount of theft adds up to $11.9 million in compensation not being paid to workers for time worked.
There are currently five employees that ensure 2.9 million Minnesota workers are treated fairly. In total, these workers receive 20,000 inquiries per year and are able to process 1,600 complaints a year. In calendar year 2015, the division was responsible for recovering $1.3 million for 1,114 workers. The average recovery was $573.
To further combat wage theft and make government more responsive to its citizens, Governor Dayton is proposing several provisions called the Wage Theft Prevention Act. His proposals include $1 million per biennium for additional enforcement capacity. Given the volume of calls and complaints, additional state resources are needed to further assist cheated workers across Minnesota. The bill proposal would also include stiffer penalties to prevent and crack down on wage theft.