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S. 2697 (114th): Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 16, 2016.

Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act

This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to require employers engaged in commerce, or in the production of goods for commerce, to make certain disclosures to employees about their employment, including a paystub corresponding to work the employee performed during the applicable pay period, and make final payments to a terminating employee for uncompensated hours the employee has worked.

An employer shall compensate an employee at the rate specified in an employment contract or other employment agreement, including a collective bargaining agreement, that specifies a rate of pay higher than the minimum wage rate.

The bill revises penalty requirements to:

increase to double the amount of unpaid wages or unpaid overtime compensation the damages an employer must pay for violating minimum wage or maximum hour rules, plus interest; increase to treble damages the penalty for retaliatory discrimination against or discharge of a whistleblowing employee; repeal the requirement that an employee consent in writing to become a party plaintiff in an action to recover damages from an employer for all such violations; prohibit waiver of the right to bring an action, including a collective action, by an employee as a condition of employment or in a pre-dispute arbitration agreement; and direct the Department of Labor to refer any case involving a covered offender to the Department of Justice for prosecution. In the event that an employee requests an inspection of his or her records for accuracy of wage payments, the employer shall give the employee a copy of the records covering a period of up to five years prior to the request.

The Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947 is amended to:

increase the statute of limitations for causes of action under that Act, the Walsh-Healy Act, or the Bacon-Davis Act with respect to unpaid wages, unpaid overtime compensation, or damages; and deem the statute of limitations tolled for such an action between notification of an employer that an investigation or enforcement action has begun to notification to the employer that the matter has been officially resolved. Acting through the Wage and Hour Division, Labor shall award grants to assist eligible entities in enhancing the enforcement of wage and hour laws.

The Government Accountability Office shall identify successful programs carried out by such grants, especially elements, policies, or procedures that can be replicated by other grant-receiving programs.