Broward County Commissioners will vote on a wage recovery ordinance today, an important step towards ending unfair wage theft which plagues low-income workers. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “wage theft can include workers not being paid overtime or minimum wage, being force to work during meal breaks or work off the clock, or not paying them at all,” and it is a serious crime that can pose significant risks for many in this fragile economy.
When a person is denied their pay not only is it unjust, but it can have devastating consequences. With many in Florida struggling just to get by, withholding pay from one person may mean withholding food or shelter from their family who rely on the paychecks for their very survival.
The empty claim made by some that wage theft ordinances hurt businesses is ludicrous, since employees only get paid what is legally entitled to them. The program implemented in Miami-Dade County has been very successful in revering stolen wages for workers. It allows workers to easily file a claim without hiring a pricey lawyer, and has helped to recuperate more than $400,000 in unpaid wages since 2010. In Palm Beach the program began in 2011 and has since recovered more than $100,000 for workers that were victims of wage theft.
The Broward County Commissioners would do good to follow Miami-Dade’s and Palm Beach’s wage theft ordinances. South Florida should come together to set an example for the country. We shouldn’t allow crooked businesses to steal from their employees simply because the employees cannot afford to hire an attorney to fight back. South Florida need’s to stand up for its residents who can’t do so on their own!