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Wage and Hour Division
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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Our Mission is Clear

“To promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce”

We’re here to help workers and employers, and we’re making progress toward our goals every day. Some examples…

2 million workers helped by WHD since 2009

Nearly 1.8 Billion dollars in back wages recovered by WHD since 2009

Outreach and Education

WHD has long recognized that enforcement alone is not enough - we proudly engage in a robust outreach and education program that continues to educate employers and workers alike to promote compliance.

WHD conducted more than 18,000 outreach events since 2009 and more than 3,400 in 2016 alone

WHD continues to provide around the clock service to both employers and employees via the internet. In FY 2016, our website was viewed more than 35 million times.

more than 266 million dollars in back wages collected

In fiscal year 2016, WHD found more than $266 million in back wages for more than 280,000 workers

In fiscal year 2016, WHD found $77.2 million in low wage industries for 106,000 workers.

$730,000 per day is collected for back wages

In fiscal year 2016, WHD collected an average of $730,000 in back wages for workers per day. That’s enough to feed 900 families for a month. Click here for more statistics with low wage industries to view back wages collected for workers in low wage industries.

Pay recovered

WHD investigations in fiscal year 2016 found, on average, $930 for each employee due back wages. For waiters or waitresses, that means four times what they would earn in a typical workweek. Imagine how challenging it would be if you weren’t compensated for four weeks of work. That’s the reality for many workers who don't get paid what they have earned.

We are finding more back wages for more low wage workers. Click here for more details.



$930 represents multiple paychecks to typical workers in many industries*

Maid / Housekeeper

3.3 Paychecks
3.3 paychecks

Security Guard

2.5 Paychecks
2.5 Paychecks


2.7 Paychecks
2.7 Paychecks


2.3 Paychecks
2.3 Paychecks

Retail Cashier

3.3 Paychecks
3.3 Paychecks

(*based upon BLS data for average wage rates and weekly hours per occupation)



4+ Weeks of Food

at $188/week
4+ Weeks of Food

1+ months of rent

at $825/month
1+ months of rent

2+ months of utilities

at $325/month
2+ months of utilities

5+ weeks of childcare

at $165/week
5+ weeks of childcare

(Estimated costs based on Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015 Consumer Expenditures Survey – annual national level data.)

Click here to view All Acts.

Click here to view Fair Labor Standards Act Back Wages.

Click here to view Low Wage, Industries Data.

Click here to view Outreach Data.

Click here to view Child Labor Data.

Click here to view FMLA Data.

Click here for Agricultural Data (including H-2A, MSPA and OSHA).

Click here for Industries Employing High Numbers of H-2B Workers.

Click here for H-1B Data.

Click here for Government Contracts Data.