WHAT CAN THE CITY DO ABOUT WAGE THEFT?
The San Francisco Progressive Workers Alliance applauds San Francisco for establishing its own labor standards and enforcement agency (OLSE) to raise the floor and address the high cost of living for working people. Since 2004, OLSE has recovered over 4 million dollars for workers in minimum wage violations, however too many employers still get away with wage theft. San Francisco can do better to maximize limited resources for effective and timely enforcement of labor laws.
The “SF Wage Theft Prevention” Ordinance
Sponsored by Supervisors David Campos and Eric Mar
1) Time Efficiency: Workers who file claims should have their cases resolved within one year.
- Require the city to process and resolve labor claims within one year.
2) Hold employers accountable: Give the City ability to effectively conduct investigations and hold noncompliant employers accountable
- Add a penalty for failure to post notice of Minimum Wage
- Allow investigators to cite employers immediately for violations.
- Require delinquent employers to post notice to public when wages are not paid after a decision by a hearing officer or in violation of a settlement agreement.
3) Worker Protection: Protect workers right to know the law, and take action without retaliation
- Print and distribute educational outreach materials tailored to diverse communities affected by wage theft.
- Require employers to provide notice to employees when there is an ongoing investigation by the Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement (OLSE)
- Increase the penalty for retaliation from $500 to $1,000 per instance, per worker, and increase total annual cap to $10,000.
|1) OLSE lacks sufficient tools to encourage employers to comply with the law and investigation process, particularly when employers are willfully noncompliant||1) STRENGTHEN TOOLS FOR ENFORCEMENT SUCH AS INCREASED CITATION POWERS AND PUBLICITY VIA THE “SF WORKERS RIGHT TO GET PAID” ORDINANCE|
|2) The city lacks a coherent labor law enforcement strategy which maximizes existing government / community resources||2) CREATE THE “WAGE THEFT PREVENTION” TASK FORCE WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS AND CITY
| 3) Loopholes allow unscrupulous employers to abuse the system
and undermine enforcement as an effective deterrant tool
3) CLOSE LOOPHOLES FOR EFFECTIVE, TIMELY
ENFORCEMENT OF THE LABOR LAWS WITH THE CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
4) OLSE has been chronically underfunded and enforces 7 city
laws with minimal staffing structure
| 4) MAINTAIN FUNDING FOR THE AGENCY AND FOR
LANGUAGE-CULTURAL APPROPRIATE LABOR LAW
5) Consumers lack information about employers labor practices
to make decisions to support responsible employers
| 5) CITY-WIDE WEBSITE TO PROMOTE RESPONSIBLE
| 6) Longer term solutions are needed as well, especially to
promote small business development and support
| 6) EXPLORE LONG-TERM POLICY REFORMS
(ie:payroll tax reform, commercial rent control,
business/co-op technical assistance, etc)