Over the years, there has been a surge in the number of workers who are accusing their employers of wage theft. Wage theft is unfair, illegal, and often unexpected. Often, it’s a situation that leaves many employees wondering what they can do to deal with it in the first place. As a result of this wage increase, there is a need to create awareness of this phenomenon. This article focuses on your rights at work, helping you to identify wage theft and highlighting the steps taken to review a pay stub so that your employer pays you everything you deserve.
Spotting wage theft
It is a requirement by DC law that an employer provides the workers with a statement that details net wages, gross wages, the number of hours the employee worked, the beginning and the end of the pay period. Also, the statement should include any additions and deductions during the payment period, address of employer, and the date the wage was paid. These wages are to be paid to employees at least twice every month, except if the employer has formed the habit of paying wages less frequently.
When employees are not aware of this rule, some employers take advantage of the situation and do not pay them the full amount to owe them. Some of the manifestations of wage theft include:
- Making the employee work off the clock so that there are no records
- Paying less than the required $4.45 per hour for tipped workers and $14 an hour for full-time workers
- Failing to pay for overtime hours.
The employer should pay overtime at 1.5 times the regular rate as long as you work over 40 hours in your week. Your employer must make up the difference if your pay does not average the minimum wage for a pay period for tipped workers. Issues also arise when it comes to issues revolving around paid sick leave. As an employee, you should be able to take time off work for health reasons and attend to doctor’s appointments without paying deducted. If your payment is affected, then there is a probability that your employer is stealing part of your wage.
Sometimes, employers can commit wage theft by misclassifying workers. They lie that a worker is an independent contractor instead of a direct employee on the payroll, which is also a form of payroll fraud.
What can employees do?
Employees may take time to notice that their employer is committing wage theft. If, however, you have evidence, then know that your employer can pay up to 4 times the amount they owe as a result of wage theft. This is not all-they will also pay the administrative penalties and the costs and fees associated with getting an attorney.
The first step towards ensuring that you are being paid what is rightfully yours is to review your pay stub. There are various services online that provide pay stub reviews online. However, you have to ensure that you only click on a reliable URL to attend to your needs. With the right pay stub review tool by your side, you will be able to get an accurate picture of what your employer owes you. A pay stub will show details such as your earnings, you and your employer’s taxes, the pay period details, time off, reimbursements, and any benefits and deductions that have been made. With precise calculations, you will be able to establish the right check amount that you deserve.
As you study your pay stub, it pays to understand some of the key terms used. We describe them below:
- Employee earnings: This part details the hourly rate and how many hours you worked. There are also details about overtime and the bonuses paid for the same.
- Employee taxes: This part of the pay stub has details regarding what has been taken from your gross earnings as part of taxes. Your employer sends these amounts to the government.
- Employer taxes: This part of the pay stub does not impact your earnings. Instead, it provides details for the taxes that are being deducted from your employer.
- Employer contributions: This section details how much an employer contributes toward the employee’s retirement and other benefits.
- Employer deductions: This section of the pay stub details the retirement, healthcare, and other benefits that you contribute to.
Mentioned above are some of the terms that you will come across when reviewing your pay stub. While these may seem unfamiliar, you will find that it becomes easier to understand these terms over time.
Wage theft is quickly becoming a menace in society. It’s a misery that most employees across the US have to undergo in their daily hassles and bustles. However, there are things that an employee can do to ensure that they are not victims of wage theft as mentioned in this article. One of the steps that you can take is to ensure that you review your pay stub. By reading through the piece, you will understand how pay stub can assist you, as an employee, to prevent wage theft.