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Walz signs bill creating increased protections for workers against wage theft

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Gov. Tim Walz conducted a signing ceremony Monday, July 15, for bipartisan provisions of H.F. 2, the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development budget, creating increased protections for Minnesota workers against wage theft.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry estimates around 40,000 Minnesota workers pursue wage theft claims annually, and nearly $12 million a year are lost due to wage theft. Wage theft can take the form of underpayment of minimum wage; nonpayment of overtime compensation or mandatory breaks; misclassification of employees; and other means. The new legislation increases protections for workers and classifies wage theft as a felony.

“If you earn a wage, you should be paid a wage,” Walz stated in a news release. “If a worker has their wages stolen, it is no different than any other kind of theft. For too long, bad employers have taken wages from hardworking Minnesotans, with little to no recourse for the workers. Thank you to the legislators and advocates who took a collaborative approach to establish greater protections and get this done.”

Effective July 1, new requirements for all Minnesota employers include providing an employee notice upon employment and additional information for already-required earnings statements and employer recordkeeping. Beginning Aug. 1, increased enforcement of state wage and hour laws and criminal penalties for employers that commit wage theft is also effective, expanding the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s and the attorney general's enforcement authority and increasing penalties for employers when wage theft occurs.

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