EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Governor Josh Shapiro is asking for more labor law compliance investigators to make sure employees get the workplace dignity and respect they deserve. But, some are concerned more bureaucrats will lead employers to be harassed and disrespected.
Pennsylvania’s Labor and Industry Acting Secretary Nancy Walker says what’s called misclassification is at an all-time high. Misclassification lets employers pay fewer wages, benefits, and taxes.
The problem can be misclassifying workers and paying them under the table, not appropriately. It can also mean not paying workers their last paycheck or not paying them overtime. It can even result in child labor violations which secretary walker says the commonwealth is seeing more of.
Labor and Industry are asking for $1.3 million to add eight workplace investigators.
When Governor Josh Shapiro asked for more money for more labor investigators in his budget address, he expected some blowback.
He’s getting that from Republicans, who are wary, while his fellow Democrats support the plan.
“Workers that experienced worker wage theft. We’re losing about 15 percent of their weekly pay, which added up to about $32 million annually for Pennsylvania workers,” said Representative Josh Siegel (D).
“While I respect the need to enforce current law, I am concerned your agency may get a little overzealous when it comes to enforcement,” stated Representative Thomas Kutz (R).
Republican Appropriations Chair Seth Grove accused the governor of playing politics suggesting those new investigators would make things uncomfortable for big business.
Other critics note with a backlog of 30,000 unemployment compensation claims, Labor and Industry should focus their resources on that before looking for new things to investigate.