Wage and Hour Maintains High Enforcement Levels in Fiscal Year 2004

The Employment Standards Administration’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recovered more than $196 million in back wages in fiscal year 2004. Back wage collections have increased steadily since fiscal year 2001, with record breaking amounts collected in fiscal year 2003.[1] The number of workers receiving back wages has increased by over 33 percent since fiscal year 2001. The average number of cases concluded by WHD investigators in each fiscal year has shown a steady increase from just over 40 cases concluded per investigator in 2001 to 46 in 2004, as WHD increased its enforcement productivity. WHD investigators have also significantly decreased the number of days it takes to conclude a complaint case. The agency concluded some 37,842 compliance actions in fiscal year 2004. WHD assessed nearly $9 million in civil money penalties this past fiscal year – a slight decrease from the nearly $10 million assessed in 2003.

 

WHD Enforcement Statistics - All Acts

 

Type of Act FY2001 FY2002 FY2003 FY2004 Change
(01-04)
Concluded Cases 38,051 40,264 39,425 37,842 (.5%)

Back Wages Collected

$131,954,657 $175,640,492 $212,537,554 $196,664,146 49.0%

Employees Receiving Back Wages

216,647 263,593 342,358 288,296 33.1%

Complaints Registered

29,085 31,413 31,123 31,786 9.3%

Enforcement Hours

998,937 1,070,600 1,032,879 1,000,739 .18%

Average Days to Resolve Complaint

139 129 108 92 (34.0%)

Over 265,000 Employees Received Back Wages as a Result of WHD Investigations in Fair Labor Standards Act Cases.

In fiscal year 2004, more than 265,000 employees received back wages as a result of WHD investigations in Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cases. WHD collected more than $165 million in back wages for violations in FLSA cases, a 48 percent increase over the $111 million collected in fiscal year 2001, although slightly less than in 2003. FLSA cases represent around 83 percent of all cases handled by the agency in a fiscal year. In fiscal year 2004, back wages for overtime violations represented roughly 92 percent of all FLSA back wages collected, and the number of employees due overtime back wages represented about 89 percent of all employees due FLSA back wages. This fiscal year, about 71 percent of the FLSA cases had monetary violations, compared to the 69, 70 and 66 percent of monetary violation cases in fiscal years 2003, 2002 and 2001, respectively. In fiscal year 2004, WHD assessed employers $3,500,388 in FLSA civil money penalties, an increase of 9 percent over fiscal year 2003.

 

FLSA Registered Case Enforcement Statistics[2]

 

Type of Case FY2001 FY2002 FY20031 FY 2004 Change
(01-04)
Concluded FLSA Cases 31,772 33,154 32,591 31,448 (1.0%)
FLSA Cases with Monetary Violations 21,001 23,111 22,641 22,300 6.2%
Back Wages Collected for FLSA Cases $111,102,883 $142,979,826 $182,119,413 $165,385,781 48.8%
Employees Receiving Back Wages 195,257 241,568 314,660 265,772 36.1%

Back Wages Collected for Workers in Low-Wage Industries Increased 33 Percent over the Last Four Years

WHD continues to pursue compliance in low-wage industries, those with vulnerable, often immigrant workers, and those industries with a history of chronic violations. In fiscal year 2004, the agency collected more than $43 million in back wages for 84,897 workers in selected low-wage industries – an increase of over 22 percent of low-wage workers receiving back wages since fiscal year 2001. Over a third of WHD enforcement resources are attributed to investigations in nine selected low-wage industries, which include day care, restaurants, janitorial services and temporary help. The increase in back wages collected and the number of low-wage workers receiving back wages reflects WHD’s continued commitment to ensuring that low-wage workers’ rights and wages are protected.

 

Low-Wage Industries Statistics
Industry Cases Back Wages Employees
Agriculture 1,633 $1,194,589 3,700
Day Care 751 $936,211 3,323
Restaurants 5,040 $11,304,915 24,335
Garment Manufacturing 505 $4,770,554 6,722
Guard Services 683 $5,316,776 8,753
Health Care 1,947 $10,925,095 20,531
Hotels and Motels 1,045 $2,383,884 6,817
Janitorial Services 549 $2,999,578 4,700
Temporary Help 472 $3,310,309 6,016
Total Selected Low-Wage Industries 12,625 $43,141,911 84,897
Low-Wage Industries Statistics[3]

 

Type of Case FY2001 FY2002 FY2003 FY2004 Change
(01-04)
Cases in Selected Low-Wage Industries 14,267 14,016 12,962 12,625 (11.5%)
Back Wages Collected $32,470,183 $38,608,612 $39,595,382 $43,141,911 32.9%
Employees Receiving Back Wages 69,469 86,432 80,772 84,897 22.2%

Steady Decline in Minors Employed in Violation of Child Labor Laws

In fiscal year 2004, 41 percent fewer minors were found employed in violation of the FLSA child labor provisions than in fiscal year 2001. Forty-seven (47) percent fewer minors were found illegally employed in hazardous occupations than in 2001. The number of investigations in which child labor violations were found decreased by nearly 23 percent from fiscal year 2001, while the number of self-directed child labor investigations increased by nearly 7 percent in the same time period. WHD assessed $4,191,809 in child labor civil money penalties in fiscal year 2004.

 

Child Labor Statistics
Type of Case FY2001 FY2002 FY2003 FY2004 Change
(01-04)
Self-Directed Child Labor Cases 2,021 2,105 2,031 2,155 6.6%
Cases with Child Labor Violations 2,103 1,936 1,648 1,616 (23.2%)
Minors Employed in Violation 9,918 9,690 7,228 5,840 (41.1%)
Minor Per Case 4.7 5 4.4 3.6 (23.4%)
Cases with HO Violations 876 747 654 459 (47.6%)
Minors Employed in Violation of HOs 2,060 1,710 1,449 1,087 (47.2%)
Child Labor Enforcement Time 7.4% 6.3% 5.9% 5.8% (21.6%)

Family and Medical Leave Act Enforcement Complaints Declined Slightly in 2004

The number of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) complaint investigations concluded dropped slightly in 2004 from fiscal year 2003, but were about 20 percent higher than in fiscal year 2001. The number of violation cases increased by only 4 percent during the same time period from 2001 through 2004. Violation cases as a percent of FMLA complaints decreased significantly from 52 percent in fiscal year 2001 to 45 percent in fiscal year 2004. In fiscal year 2004, WHD collected just over $2.3 million in back wages for violations of FMLA. Termination of employees seeking FMLA leave continues to be the primary reason that employees filed a complaint.

 

FMLA Enforcement Statistics
Enforcement Complaint FY2001 FY2002 FY2003 FY2004 Change
(01-04)
Number of Complaints 2,790 3,501 3,565 3,350 20.1%
Nature of Complaint          
Refusal to Grant FMLA Leave 629 741 815 697 10.8%
Refusal to Restore to Equivalent Position 360 400 370 369 2.5%
Termination 1,123 1,503 1,567 1,473 31.2%
Fail to Maintain Health Benefits 62 71 46 48 (22.6%)
Discrimination 616 786 767 763 23.9%
Status of Compliance Action          
No Violation Cases 1,343 1,766 1,911 1,848 37.6%
Employer Not Covered 58 63 68 75 29.3%
Employee Not Eligible 164 224 199 238 45.1%
Complaint Not Valid 953 1,281 1,417 1,301 36.5%
Other 168 198 227 234 39.3%
Violation Cases 1,447 1,735 1,654 1,502 3.8%
Number of Employees Affected 1,627 2,077 1,867 1,742 7.1%
Amount of Monetary Damages $2,983,936 $3,731,929 $2,397,876 $2,311,781 (22.5%)

[1] FY2003 statistics include several multimillion dollar back wage cases, including one case in excess of $21 million, that were concluded during FY2003.

 

[2] FLSA registered cases are investigations registered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (as opposed to the Davis-Bacon Act or the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act). The violations, back wages and employees receiving back wages for this group of investigations are not limited to FLSA violations. The reported violations may have occurred under any other statute that WHD enforces.

 

[3] Includes Agriculture, Day Care, Restaurants, Garment Manufacturing, Guard Services, Health Care, Hotels and Motels, Janitorial Services, Temporary Help.