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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 11-40-PHI / WH 11-054


June 2, 2011


Joanna Hawkins or Leni Uddyback-Fortson


215-861-5101 or 215-861-5102

US Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division launches initiative to protect Pennsylvania hotel and motel workers

Agency aims to boost compliance with federal wage laws

PHILADELPHIA -- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division today announced an enforcement initiative focusing on Pennsylvania’s hotel and motel industry, in which the division has found consistent and widespread noncompliance with the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

From 2007 to 2010, the division conducted 165 investigations of Pennsylvania hotels and motels, recovering more than $366,000 in back wages for more than 900 employees. This initiative is part of the division’s goal to achieve sustainable and systemwide compliance in industries with high concentrations of vulnerable workers.

“The hotel and motel industry employs more than 1.8 million workers nationwide, and while it’s a vital part of our national economy, it also accounts for a disproportionate share of vulnerable workers – many of whom are subject to unfair treatment and disparate wages,” said George Ference, regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division in the Northeast. “Our goal for this initiative is to identify and remedy systemic labor violations so workers are protected against exploitation, and law-abiding employers are not placed at a competitive disadvantage for playing by the rules and paying fair wages.”

The industry is characterized by a wide variety of employment arrangements such as subcontracting, franchising, third-party management and other practices that make the worker-employer tie tenuous and far less transparent. Accordingly, the division is documenting the structure and complexity of these employment relationships to better target enforcement efforts.

Investigations will be aimed at ensuring employer compliance among third-party management companies and all others providing labor to these properties for the performance of essential hospitality services, such as housekeeping, food service, landscaping and janitorial maintenance. Additionally, the division will conduct outreach to employer and employee associations, community organizations, government agencies, unions and other stakeholders to engage them in dialogue, and encourage their participation in promoting compliance throughout all layers of employment relationships.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked over 40 per week. In general, “hours worked” includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer’s premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal work activity to the end of the last principal activity of the workday. Additionally, the law requires that accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.

For more information on the FLSA and other federal laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit


U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit