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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

2005 Statistics Fact Sheet

Wage and Hour Collects $166 Million in Back Wages for over
241,000 Employees in Fiscal Year 2005

The Employment Standards Administration’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recovered more than $166 million in back wages for over 241,000 employees in fiscal year 2005. Back wage collections this past year represent a 26 percent increase over back wages collected in fiscal year 2001. The number of workers receiving back wages has increased by 11 percent since fiscal year 2001. Also, WHD has continued to reduce the number of days to conclude a complaint case from 139 days in FY 2001 to 85 days in FY 2005. The agency concluded 34,858 compliance actions in fiscal year 2005 and assessed over $10.5 million in civil money penalties – a 17% increase from the $9 million assessed in 2004.

WHD
Enforcement Statistics –
All Acts

FY2001

FY2002

FY2003

FY2004

FY2005

Change

(01-05)

Back Wages Collected

$131,954,657

$175,640,492

$212,537,554

$196,664,146

$166,005,014

25.8%

Employees Receiving
Back Wages

216,647

263,593

342,358

288,296

241,379

11.4%

Complaints Registered

29,085

31,413

31,123

31,786

30,375

4.4%

Enforcement Hours

998,937

1,070,600

1,032,879

1,000,739

969,776

(2.9%)

Average Days
to Resolve Complaint

139

129

108

92

85

(38.8%)

Concluded
Cases

38,051

40,264

39,425

37,842

34,858

(8.4%)

Over 219,000 Employees Received Fair Labor Standards Act Back Wages

In fiscal year 2005, more than 219,000 employees received a total of $134.2 million in minimum wage and overtime back wages as a result of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations.  WHD collected nearly $119.4 million in back wages for FLSA overtime violations and more than $14.8 million for FLSA minimum wage violations.  Back wages for overtime violations represented roughly 89 percent of all FLSA back wages collected, and the number of employees due overtime back wages represented about 85 percent of all employees due FLSA back wages. In fiscal year 2005, WHD assessed employers $4.3 million in FLSA civil money penalties, an increase of 22 percent over the $3.5 million assessed in fiscal year 2004.

 

Cases

Back Wages Collected

Percent of all FLSA Back Wages

Employees Receiving Back Wages

Percent of all Employees Receiving FLSA Back Wages

Minimum Wage

12,504

$14,840,557

11%

53,236

24

Overtime

11,134

$119,397,287

89%

188,959

86

 

Of the $134.2 million in FLSA back wages collected, nearly $13.6 million were collected for approximately 10,000 employees as a result of violations of the new Overtime Security regulations (29 C.F.R. Part 541).  Over $21.4 million in back wages were collected for 31,450 employees who were paid straight-time for overtime hours worked and approximately $20.1 million were collected for approximately 56,900 employees who were not paid for all hours worked.  The remaining back wages collected were for violations that resulted from the failure to properly compute an employee’s regular rate of pay, the failure to combine all hours worked for overtime purposes, misapplied exemptions other than those under Part 541, or missed last paycheck or payroll.

Overtime Security Task Force Results

The WHD’s Overtime Security Task Force’s FY 2005 initiative focused on workers who became eligible for overtime compensation when the salary threshold increased from $155 to $455 a week – the first such increase since 1975.  The Task Force identified industries, such as restaurants, day care centers, grocery stores, hotels and motels, in which there were large numbers of salaried workers who earned less than $455 a week and who reported working over 40 hours in a week. WHD completed 165 directed investigations as part of the initiative resulting in approximately $217,000 in back wages collected for 285 employees who were employed in violation of the Overtime Security rule.

As part of the initiative, WHD sponsored five regional compliance assistance forums in Pennsylvania, Washington, Texas, Florida, and Ohio, to educate employers and employees on the requirements of the new regulations.  Since the rule was published, WHD has conducted over 700 nationwide compliance assistance activities and has issued multiple opinion letters interpreting provisions of the new rule.  The opinion letters can be found on the agency’s web site at www.wagehour.dol.gov.

The initiative identified violations of the new Overtime Security regulations, 29 C.F.R. Part 541, in 79 of the 165 investigations or 48 percent of the establishments.  Just over one-half of the employers (52%) were in compliance with the new Overtime Security regulations.

  • Violations resulting from the new salary level were identified in 44 of the 79 investigations and were most common in the hotel and motel and restaurant industries.  As a result, back wages of $48,766 were found due to 97 employees who were paid below the $455 threshold.
  • Violations of the salary basis tests were identified in 30 of the 79 investigations and were most common in the restaurant and nursing home industries (“salary basis” means an employee regularly receives a predetermined amount of compensation each pay period). These types of violations resulted in $72,336 in back wages due 95 employees.
  • The initiative investigations also found 52 workers due $60,662 in back wages in 12 cases where the workers did not meet the duties test for the executive exemption.

Back Wages Collected for Workers in Low-Wage Industries Increased

WHD continues to pursue compliance in low-wage industries that employ vulnerable, often immigrant, workers, and those industries with a history of chronic violations.  In fiscal year 2005, the agency collected nearly $45.8 million in back wages for 96,511 workers in low-wage industries – an increase of over 13 percent of low-wage workers receiving back wages in fiscal year 2004.  Over a third of WHD enforcement resources are attributed to investigations in nine 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 reflect WHD’s continued commitment to ensuring that low-wage workers’ rights and wages are protected.

Low-Wage Industries Statistics

Cases

Back Wages

Employees

Agriculture

1,449

$1,319,636

4,042

Day Care

809

$1,026,254

3,578

Restaurants

4,829

$13,800,956

31,755

Garment Manufacturing

978

$3,970,247

4,679

Guard Services

716

$5,873,118

9,150

Health Care

1,773

$11,917,166

30,508

Hotels and Motels

997

$2,847,607

5,274

Janitorial Services

536

$3,408,819

4,699

Temporary Help

381

$1,619,940

2,826

Total Low-Wage Industries

12,468

$45,783,743

96,511

 

Low-Wage Industries Statistics[1]

FY2001

FY2002

FY2003

FY2004

FY2005

Change

(01-05)

Back Wages Collected

$32,470,183

$38,608,612

$39,595,382

$43,141,911

$45,783,743

41.0%

Employees Receiving Back Wages

69,469

86,432

80,772

84,897

96,511

38.9%

Cases in Low-Wage Industries

14,267

14,016

12,962

12,625

12,468

(12.6%)

Number of Minors Employed in Compliance of Child Labor Laws Improves

Results for fiscal year 2005 show a reduction in the average number of minors found employed in violation of the FLSA child labor provisions.  On average 3.3 minors were found illegally employed per case compared to 3.6 in fiscal year 2004.  Hazardous Occupation Order (HO) violations were found in a third of the cases with violations. Violations of HO No. 12 (paper balers) was the most common HO violation found followed by violations of HO No. 10 (meat slicers); HO No. 2 (driving) and HO No. 7 (forklifts and other hoisting apparatuses).  WHD assessed $3.7 million in child labor civil money penalties in fiscal year 2005.

Child Labor Statistics

FY2001

FY2002

FY2003

FY2004

FY2005

Change

(01-05)

Self-Directed Child Labor Cases

2,021

2,105

2,031

2,155

1,406

(30.4%)

Cases with Child Labor

Violations

2,103

1,936

1,648

1,616

1,129

(46.3%)

Minors Employed in Violation

9,918

9,690

7,228

5,840

3,703

(62.7%)

Minors Per Case

4.7

5

4.4

3.6

3.3

(29.8%)

Cases with HO Violations

876

747

654

459

396

(54.8%)

Minors Employed in Violation of HOs

2,060

1,710

1,449

1,087

1,091

(47.0%)

One explanation for the increase in the number of minors employed in compliance with the child labor laws is the effectiveness of compliance assistance and enforcement strategies.  The most recent investigation-based surveys of child labor compliance, conducted in fiscal year 2004, show continued high levels of compliance in the full-service restaurant and grocery store industries and improvements in compliance in quick-service restaurants.  The survey also found significant reductions in the percent of employers with repeat violations in all three industries. The survey found that 91% of quick-service restaurants were in compliance with the FLSA youth rules provisions and 99% of youth employed in this industry were employed in compliance.  The survey also found 73% of full-service restaurants were in compliance and 88% of youth workers were employed in compliance.  Finally, 80% of grocery stores were in compliance and 95% of youth were employed in compliance in this industry.

Investigation-Based Compliance Surveys in the Child Labor Program

Quick-Service Restaurants

Full-Service Restaurants

Grocery Stores

FY 2004 Survey

FY 2000 Baseline

FY 2004 Survey

FY 2000 Baseline

FY 2004 Survey

FY 2000 Baseline

% of employers in compliance

91%

70%

73%

78%

80%

82%

% of youths employed in compliance

99%

95%

88%

89%

95%

98%

% of employers in compliance with HOs

96%

96%

96%

94%

88%

93%

% of employers with repeat violations

18%

28%

33%

48%

17%

28%

% of youth employed in compliance by prior violators

97%

97%

94%

94%

99%

95%

Family and Medical Leave Act Enforcement Complaints Declined

The number of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) complaint investigations concluded declined slightly in 2005 from fiscal year 2004.  The number of violation cases declined by 10 percent from fiscal year 2004.  In fiscal year 2005, WHD collected just over $1.8 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

FY2001

FY2002

FY2003

FY2004

FY2005

Change

(01-05)

Number of Complaints

2,790

3,501

3,565

3,350

2,784

(0.21%)

Nature of Complaint

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Refusal to Grant FMLA Leave

629

741

815

697

647

2.9%

  Refusal to Restore to Equivalent Position

360

400

370

369

328

(8.9%)

  Termination

1,123

1,503

1,567

1,473

1,132

0.80%

  Fail to Maintain Health Benefits

62

71

46

48

50

(19.3%)

  Discrimination

616

786

767

763

627

1.79%

Status of Compliance Action

No Violation Cases

1,343

1,766

1,911

1,848

1,429

6.4%

  Employer Not Covered

58

63

68

75

37

(36.2%)

  Employee Not Eligible

164

224

199

238

176

7.3%

  Complaint Not Valid

953

1,281

1,417

1,301

1,058

11.0%

  Other

168

198

227

234

158

(5.9%)

Violation Cases

1,447

1,735

1,654

1,502

1,355

(6.4%)

  Number of Employees Affected

1,627

2,077

1,867

1,742

1,626

(0.06%)

  Amount of Monetary Damages

$2,983,936

$3,731,929

$2,397,876

$2,311,781

$1,867,807

(37.4%)

FY 2006 Initiatives

WHD will undertake key compliance initiatives in fiscal year 2006 in support of its mission “to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce.”  National initiatives include:

“Off-the-Clock” and Overtime Security:  WHD will undertake an investigation-based compliance survey of identified low-wage industries in fiscal year 2006.  The initiative is designed to measure FLSA compliance in those industries most likely to have minimum wage and overtime violations as a result of “off-the-clock” violations or Overtime Security violations.  The initiative will consist of a number of directed investigations nationwide and will be preceded by outreach.

Youth Employment Survey:  In fiscal year 2006, WHD will conduct a survey of compliance with the FLSA youth employment provisions in retail establishments.  The initiative will also consist of a number of directed investigations nationwide and will include compliance assistance activities.

In addition to these national initiatives, WHD regions have planned regional and local initiatives for fiscal year 2006.  The initiatives are a balance of activities in compliance assistance, partnerships and alliances, and enforcement.  Each region has a regional initiative designed to decrease employer recidivism.  All of the regions have planned for ongoing and prospective partnership and alliance activities in support of the agency’s compliance assistance plan, including increased participation in human trafficking task forces.

Enforcement initiatives are designed to increase compliance with FLSA, including youth employment in low-wage industries.  A component of the agency’s low-wage focus will also include regional and district initiatives in agriculture to increase compliance with the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Revised January 2008


[1] Includes Agriculture, Day Care, Restaurants, Garment Manufacturing, Guard Services, Health Care, Hotels and Motels, Janitorial Services, Temporary Help except for fiscal years 1999 and 2000, which do not include data on Day Care and Temporary Help industries

 

2004 Statistics Fact Sheet
2003 Statistics Fact Sheet
2002 Statistics Fact Sheet