U.S. Department of Labor’s PAID Program Helps Workers and Employers as America Reopens

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WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division’s (WHD) Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) Program continues to provide an avenue to get workers the wages they are owed, bring employers into compliance and accomplish both goals with an efficiency that saves taxpayers money, with more than $7 million in back wages found for more than 11,000 workers.

“PAID is a common sense program that helps employers comply with the law while ensuring workers get the money they’ve earned,” said Deputy Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella. “As more Americans come back to work, the PAID program provides an effective tool for the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure workers around the country are being made whole.”

PAID resolves potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The program’s primary objectives are to resolve such claims quickly and without litigation, to improve employers’ compliance and to ensure that more employees receive the back wages they are owed faster.

“For employers that missed payroll, or otherwise inadvertently found themselves in violation of the FLSA as they dealt with the effects of the coronavirus, PAID allows them to step forward, pay their workers the wages they earned, and get back to business,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton.

Under PAID, employers are encouraged to conduct audits and, if they discover overtime or minimum wage violations, to self-report those violations. Employers using PAID are not subject to liquidated damages or civil money penalties as a condition to finalize settlements. Without exception, employers that participate in the program are required to pay 100 percent of the back wages due for the violations they seek to resolve.

Compared to traditional investigations, compliance actions under PAID find more back wages for workers in less time. Through the end of fiscal year 2019, PAID actions found, on average, more than four times the back wages of traditional full investigations and more than 10 times the back wages per WHD staff hour invested.

As the nation navigates the effects of coronavirus on the workplace, WHD is ramping up efforts to get back wages to workers through its Workers Owed Wages (WOW) online system. The WOW system allows workers and their advocates to find out through a user-friendly series of questions in English and Spanish if WHD holds back wages owed to them as the result of an investigation. If they are owed wages, the system puts them in touch with the WHD office that can help them get their check. 

WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked under the FLSA, on job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and on paid sick and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

For more information about wage laws enforced by WHD, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided under immigration law. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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