Wage theft means not paying employees all wages due in the pay period in which the work occurred. Under a new law effective September 18, 2019, Maine will carry employer penalties for wage theft violations. Violations as defined by The Pine Tree State include:
- Not providing timely and full payment of wages
- Not maintaining accurate payroll records
- Not providing accurate final payment when employment ends
- Arranging unfair agreements, such as working without compensation, certain wage deductions, or agreements to return compensation
- Not including fringe benefits as earned wages
- Ignoring minimum wage and overtime requirements
- The Maine Department of Labor or any person directly harmed by wage theft, may seek a court order against the employer to stop wage theft. If the court rules in the suing party’s favor, the employer is liable for the costs of suit, including reasonable attorney fees.
- If the Maine Department of Labor determines that an employer has committed wage theft, or the employer’s practice or policy resulted in wage theft on more than one occasion within the previous 12 months, the Maine DOL may order an employer to cease business operations.
Next Steps for Employers
- Review your payroll practices and do a self-audit of your payroll records. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are your nonexempt employees paid for all hours worked in the week they were earned?
- Are overtime payments accurate?
- Are all wage deductions correct and the required documentation in the employee’s file?
- Are final wage payments for employees correct?
- If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client and would like our assistance with understanding this new law please email us.
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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.