The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) returned more than $3.5 million in earned wages to Pennsylvania workers in 2021 after investigating more than 4,000 complaints of alleged labor law violations.
The complaints investigated in 2021 included violations related to: the Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL), the Minimum Wage Act (MWA), the Prevailing Wage Act (PWA), the Child Labor Act (CLA) and the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act (CWMA).
“Pennsylvania workers are entitled to every dollar they earn, and that’s why the department’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance works so hard to hold employers accountable when they wrongfully withhold wages or violate any of Pennsylvania’s labor laws,” said L&I Secretary Jennifer Berrier.
The bureau collected more than $2 million from about 900 employers in violation of the WCPL. Businesses were investigated for violations under the WPCL for the alleged nonpayment of wages, final paychecks or fringe benefits.
Sixty employers in violation of the MWA forfeited $566,000 for failing to pay minimum wage and/or overtime.
Under the PWA, the bureau enforces requirements for prevailing wage rates on publicly funded construction projects. The bureau determined more than 8,500 prevailing rate violations and returned more than $1 million to workers who were not paid the proper prevailing wages on projects across the state.
In 2021, the bureau issued fines to more than 100 entities and collected $3.1 million in child labor fines from employees who allowed minor employees to engage in prohibited occupations, work excessive hours, not receive mandated break times or work in dangerous conditions.
Under the CWMA, the bureau investigates allegations of construction industry employers misclassifying employees as independent contractors. In 2021, the bureau issued penalties to more than 50 construction industry employers and collected $340,000 in fines.
“Though its work is mostly behind the scenes, the team that enforces Pennsylvania’s 13 labor and employment laws has a profound and meaningful impact on every worker in the commonwealth because fair, consistent enforcement incentivizes all employers to be diligent about following our laws,” Berrier said."