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Shapiro Administration Labor Law Investigators Return More Than $4 Million in Earned Wages to Pennsylvania Workers in 2023

02/08/2024

Contact: Trevor Monk, dlipress@pa.gov

Harrisburg, PA – In 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) investigated more than 5,200 complaints of alleged labor law violations -- a 27% increase in investigations compared to approximately 4,100 conducted in 2022. As a result of the 2023 investigations, L&I returned more than $4 million in earned wages to Pennsylvania workers. Additionally, L&I collected fines totaling nearly $1.2 million from employers who violated the Child Labor Act and the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act, which were returned to taxpayers in Pennsylvania's General Fund and the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.

"Pennsylvania's workers have the right to keep every cent they rightfully earn and have peace of mind that they are not being taken advantage of by their employer," said L&I Secretary Nancy A. Walker. "From ensuring proper overtime wages are paid to protecting children from exploitation, the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance (BLLC) works tirelessly to protect the rights of workers when an employer violates any of Pennsylvania's labor laws, while also protecting law-abiding employers from unfair competition by those that undermine labor standards."

In response to the rise in labor law cases, Governor Shapiro's proposed 2024-2025 budget calls for an additional $1.19 million in funding for labor law compliance investigators to further protect Pennsylvania's workers and businesses and continue enforcing the law.

Other efforts of the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance to enforce Pennsylvania's labor laws in 2023 include:

  • Prevailing Wage: Cases increased from 56 in 2022 to 173 in 2023, marking a 209% increase, with $1,113,683 collected and returned to 181 workers. The Prevailing Wage Act ensures workers on publicly funded projects receive wages and benefits consistent with local standards.
  • Child Labor Act (CLA): Cases grew from 402 in 2022 to 574 in 2023, a 43% increasewith $752,483 in fines collected and deposited in the General Fund from 194 employers. The CLA regulates the employment of minors, ensuring their safety and well-being in the workplace.
  • Wage Payment and Collection Law: Cases rose from 3,050 in 2022 to 3,834 in 2023, a 26% increase, with $2,524,311 returned to 1,252 workers. This law mandates timely payment of earned wages and benefits.
  • Minimum Wage Act (MWA): BLLC investigated 282 cases in 2023, a 31% rise compared to the previous year, with $372,736 collected and returned to 770 workers. The MWA establishes a minimum hourly wage and requires overtime pay for certain employees.
  • Misclassification of Construction Employees (Act 72): Cases declined from 267 in 2022 to 249 cases in 2023, a 6.7 % decrease. The Department found 140 contractors misclassified 712 workers in 2023, which is a significant increase in the number of misclassified workers compared to 95 contractors misclassifying 351 workers in 2022.  Act 72 addresses the misclassification of workers in the construction industry, ensuring they are correctly classified as employees rather than independent contractors to provide appropriate labor protections and benefits.
  • Mandatory Overtime Law for Nurses (Act 102): Cases declined from 153 in 2022 to 142 cases in 2023, a 7.2% decrease. Act 102 in Pennsylvania prohibits employers from requiring nurses to work overtime, except in cases of unforeseeable emergent circumstances.

How to Submit a Complaint
L&I's Bureau of Labor Law Compliance responds to complaints filed by members of the public who suspect violations of the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act, Child Labor Act, and other Pennsylvania labor laws. Anyone can file a complaint on L&I's website using an online submission form.

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