DALLAS – With hazardous weather and storms a feature of the season, the U.S. Department of Labor urges workers and employers who clear debris, repair homes or perform other types of disaster recovery to become familiar with federal laws governing wages, hours of work and pay practices. The failure to pay wages as due harms employees, and violations of federal labor law can be costly for employers.
“The U.S. Department of Labor works tirelessly to ensure that workers who respond in times of crisis, to help communities recover from devastating storms, are paid all of their legally earned wages and benefits,” explained Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Betty Campbell in Dallas. “Additionally, we stand ready to equip employers with the information and guidance they need to prevent violations which are often costly.”
From October 2017 to June 2022, the department’s Wage and Hour Division conducted more than 900 investigations related to recovery from natural disasters. Those cases yielded more than $62 million in wages recovered for more than 45,000 workers. During that same time, the division hosted more than 1,200 outreach events for disaster recovery employers, employees, and stakeholders, including more than 75,000 participants.
Common violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act include non-payment of wages, impermissible deductions leading to minimum wage and overtime violations and the misclassification of employees as independent contractors.
The division is committed to strong enforcement of workplace protections for disaster recovery workers nationwide and offers compliance assistance resources to aid in preparedness and response efforts. A Natural Disaster Compliance Assistance Toolkit provides vital information about employee protections and employer obligations. The division also collaborates with federal partners to present an annual seminar on Natural Disaster Preparedness . This year’s Panel Discussion is scheduled for Sept. 8, 2022. Additionally, stakeholders can access division resources on social media, #BeReady.
If you are a storm recovery worker who thinks you may be owed wages, you can search the Wage and Hour Division’s Workers Owed Wages website.
Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).