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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Efforts to Enhance Wage Compliance in Northeast’s Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service Industry

NEW YORK, NY – The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has begun an education and enforcement initiative to address common Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations and to enhance compliance with federal wage laws in the dry cleaning and laundry services industry in the Northeast Region of the United States.

The initiative seeks to collaborate with the industry to determine the root causes of FLSA wage violations, provide compliance assistance that educates employers and helps protect employees, and level the economic playing field for employers that comply with the FLSA.

WHD district offices will establish or bolster existing collaborative relationships with state and local agencies, consulates, employer associations, and employee groups in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia, to provide compliance assistance that will complement planned enforcement efforts.

"Providing employers all the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with the law is an important part of this initiative," said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Mark Watson. "The goal of this proactive approach is to achieve industry-wide compliance with federal wage laws for the benefit of the Northeast's more than 56,000 dry-cleaning and laundry service employees."

In a five-year period from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2018, the WHD's Northeast Region recovered nearly $2,000,000 in back wages for more than 1,000 employees in the dry cleaning and laundry services industry and assessed $84,645 in penalties against employers. Common violations included paying less than the federal minimum wage; paying straight-time rates for overtime hours worked, in cash; and failing to keep accurate records of employees' wages and work hours. 

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Last year the Department launched to provide information about employers' responsibilities, and to provide information about employees' rights. Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program.  Information is also available at including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.

The Office of Compliance Assistance (OCI) – housed within the Department of Labor's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy – fosters a compliance assistance culture within the Department designed to complement its ongoing enforcement efforts. OCI focuses on helping enforcement agencies more effectively use online resources to deliver information and compliance assistance to help the American people. In August 2018, OCI launched and to provide information about workers' rights and the responsibilities of job creators toward their workers.

Wage and Hour Division
April 10, 2019
Release Number
Media Contact: James C. Lally
Phone Number
Media Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Media Contact: Joanna Hawkins
Media Contact: Leni Fortson
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