Failure to pay minimum wage is more frequent in low wage labor jobs
“Workplace violations are severe and widespread in low wage labor markets.” That’s one conclusion in a report entitled “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers – Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities”. The study which was conducted in 2008 in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City found, among other things, that the “framework of worker protections” established over the last 75 years is not working and that many employment and labor laws are “regularly and systematically violated”. The study found that low wage workers in the largest cities are the ones most adversely impacted by these systematically violations of the labor laws. One very prevalent violation of the labor laws is the failure to pay minimum wage. Minimum wage laws apply to workers regardless of whether they are full time or part time employees. The study found that women are more likely than men to experience minimum wage violations and foreign born were nearly twice as likely as U.S. born workers to experience minimum wage violations.
The failure to pay minimum wage not only hurts the employee who is directly impacted by the loss of wages but society as a whole. The study notes that when “some employers violate the law responsible employers are forced into unfair competition, setting off a race to the bottom that threatens to bring down standards throughout the labor market.”
Paying minimum wage is not a cure-all for poverty, and workers should not be content to settle for minimum wage work, but it does create a baseline income and promotes a more fair and equitable society.