Monday, April 29, 2013

Pay Fraud

Socialists explain through the Labour Theory of Value how the worker is robbed. But the fact is that theft from the worker by the employer can be even more blatant.
In America unpaid overtime alone costs workers at least $19 billion per year. 26 percent of low-wage workers got paid less than the minimum wage. 76 percent of workers toiling over 40 hours were denied overtime. Workers lose an average of $2,634 a year due to these and other workplace violations. The Department of Labor is supposed to enforce fair labor practices, but currently, there are only 1,000 enforcement officers protecting 135 million workers.
People hired for jobs as day-laborers like yard work and domestic services in which the employer pays cash are denied social insurance like Social Security, and often what’s paid doesn’t add up to minimum wage. Undocumented workers are exploited by wage thieves who use deportation as the threat. Some employees are paid for piece work, like the number of shirts produced in a garment factory, and get cheated when the tally falls below minimum wage. Another common form of theft is the “last paycheck” scam in which a worker is either fired or quits and finds that her final wages are withheld. Low-wage tip workers are frequently the victims of theft in which the boss illegally keeps tips or makes you pay for your uniform or a ride to the job site.
Misclassifying workers as independent contractors means the business doesn’t pay overtime, employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare, or unemployment insurance. Temporary and seasonal workers are especially vulnerable. The construction and trucking industries are notorious offenders, but payroll fraud impacts people like engineers, financial advisers, adjunct professors, and IT professionals.
Some people are given titles as managers so they can be forced to work overtime without extra pay. Managers pressured to “improve their numbers” sometimes resort to falsifying employee records. Others deny breaks or deduct the break from the workers’ wages. Walmart has engaged in so many of these practices that researcher Susan Miloser of Washington & Lee Law School refers to retail wage theft as a result of managerial strain the “Walmart Pinch.”
High unemployment and economic inequality has made workers expendable in the great capitalist machine. Union-busting, globalization, outsourcing, downsizing, and recession have increased opportunities for employer predation. With high unemployment people are terrified of doing or saying anything to jeopardize jobs, no matter the abuse. The bosses maintain the upper hand.

From here

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