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Do employers owe back pay for a wage violation?

It can sometimes take months for an employee to notice that they have not been paid what they are owed or what they are entitled to. During those months, they may have missed out on a significant amount of income. It will also take them a considerable amount of time to go through the legal process of correcting the mistake if the employer does not agree.

As an employer, it is important that you have a system for thoroughly reviewing the rates that you pay different types of employees. In addition to this, making sure that no employees are misclassified in the system is vital if you wish to avoid wage violation disputes.

Paying back lost wages to your employees

If an employee makes an internal complaint, claiming that he or she has been underpaid based on what they are legally entitled to, you should review it immediately. Once the complaint has been reviewed, you as the employer may agree or disagree with them. If you disagree with them, it is a good idea to give the employee a clear reason why, and back it up with the standards outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

If you agree with them, you should work out a plan for the back payment of owed wages. Sometimes employers consider having the Wage and Hour Division supervise these back payments, especially if a complaint has been made to the Department of Labor.

Focusing on prevention is alway the best way to avoid legal disputes in regard to paying employees in Pennsylvania. However, exercising good communication when there is a problem is a good way to avoid unnecessary escalations.

Source: DOL, "Backpay," accessed May 03, 2018

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