H. R. 6268
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 29, 2010
Mr. Hare (for himself, Mr. George Miller of California, and Ms. Berkley) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor
To establish a wage theft prevention grant program in the Department of Labor to prevent wage and hour violations and expand and improve cooperative efforts between enforcement agencies and members of the community.
This Act may be cited as the
Wage Theft Prevention and Community
Congress finds the following:
Wage and hour violations are a serious and growing problem for working Americans.
According to a study by the Ford, Joyce, Hayne, and Russell Sage Foundations, low-wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are paid less then the minimum wage, often resulting up to a 15-percent loss in pay.
Widespread wage and hour violations place ethical businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
Wage and hour violations hurt local economies. State and local governments lose vital tax revenues and spending power when employers do not pay legally required wages and workers receive less than full pay.
Women are far more likely to suffer minimum wage violations than men, while minority women suffer such violations at a rate nearly triple the rate that white women suffer such violations.
Social service networks are further strained and poverty increases when low-wage workers receive lower wages than what is required by law.
The Department of Labor and State departments of labor could more adequately address wage and hour violations with a significant partnership with stakeholders in the community.
The Government Accountability Office recommended that the Department of Labor identify ways to leverage its existing tools to better address wage and hour violations by improving services provided through partnerships.
In this Act the following definitions apply:
The term eligible partner means any of the following:
A not-for-profit community organization that, in whole or in part, is dedicated to combating poverty and preventing abuse of wage and hour laws.
A labor organization as defined in section 2(5) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 152(5)).
A Joint Labor Management Cooperative Committee established pursuant to section 205A of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (29 U.S.C. 175a).
The term Secretary means the Secretary of Labor.
The term wage and hour violations refers to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act or the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, or any regulations issued under either such Act, or violations of any other law enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, as the Secretary may determine.
Authorization to create a wage theft prevention fund
The Secretary shall establish a Wage Theft Prevention Fund, which shall provide funding for the Wage Theft Prevention and Community Partnership Grants described in section 5. The Secretary may promulgate regulations as necessary to carry out this Act.
Wage theft grant program
Establishment of wage theft prevention and community partnership grants
The Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible partners to—
prevent wage and hour violations by informing workers of their rights and the remedies available to them; and
expand and improve cooperative efforts between agencies charged with enforcing wage and hour requirements and employers and their employees.
An eligible partner seeking a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require. An application shall include, at a minimum, the following:
A description of the plan for preventing wage and hour violations.
A description of the plan for outreach, including a plan for assisting the Department of Labor in communicating with workers.
A description of the eligible partner’s prior experience in raising awareness about and enforcing wage and hour laws and ensuring that worker rights are respected.
Evidence of the community need for this type of work, including prevalence of wage and hour violations in the eligible partner’s community or State.
A description of any larger working group of organizations, including Federal, State, or local government agencies, and faith-based, labor, community, and business organizations—
of which the eligible partner is a member; or
which the eligible partner is proposing to work with in carrying out activities funded by such grant.
Duration and renewal of grants
Initial grant period
A Wage Theft Prevention and Community Partnerships Grant shall be awarded for an initial grant period of 1 to 3 years.
Such grant may be renewed for 2 additional grant periods of the same duration as the initial grant period, if—
the Secretary determines that the funds made available to the recipient were used in a manner required under an approved application; and
the recipient can demonstrate significant progress in achieving the objectives of the initial application.
A grant recipient may apply for an additional grant under this section once the recipient’s grant renewals with respect to the initial grant have been exhausted.
Ineligibility for grants
No grant may be awarded under this section to—
an entity that the Secretary determines infringes upon upon the rights guaranteed by section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 157); or
an entity prohibited by section 427 of Public Law 111–88 from receiving funds appropriated by that Act.
Each program, project, or activity funded under this section shall be subject to monitoring by the Secretary which shall include systematic identification and collection of data about activities, accomplishments, programs, and expenditures throughout the life of the program, project, or activity.
Reports to Congress
For each year in which funding is provided under this section, the Secretary shall submit an annual report to the Congress on the activities carried out by grantees under this section including, at a minimum, information on the following:
The activities undertaken by each grantee and any other entity that partnered with the grantee to prevent wage and hour violations by informing workers of their rights and the remedies available to them.
The number of workers assisted by each grantee disaggregated by State, age, income, gender, and race.
A summary of progress by each grantee in implementing wage theft prevention outreach plans approved by the Secretary.
Revocation or suspension of funding
If the Secretary determines, as a result of the reviews required by subsections (e) and (f), or otherwise, that a grant recipient under this section is not in substantial compliance with the terms and requirements of an approved grant application submitted under subsection (b), the Secretary may revoke or suspend funding of that grant, in whole or in part.
Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this Act, including administrative costs associated with carrying out this Act, such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2010 through 2014, to remain available until expended.