MA Attorney general’s office seeks help enforcing labor laws 

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From WickedLocal.com, Jessica Trufant reports that the head of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division said that her office needs witnesses and workers talking to them about misclassification.

The head of the attorney general’s Fair Labor Division said it’s a top priority to investigate contractors accused of bypassing wage and labor laws, but investigators are stretched thin with thousands of tips to chase annually.

“We absolutely don’t have enough resources to do all of the enforcement, and there are many barriers to citing someone. We need workers willing to talk to us. We need witnesses,” said Cynthia Mark, chief of the Fair Labor Division. “We want to end wage theft and misclassification, but we can’t do it alone.”

Mark went before the city council’s oversight committee Thursday to discuss the misclassification of workers – or when full-time employees are treated as independent contractors. Such workers are denied prevailing and minimum wage, overtime pay and other benefits they’re entitled to.

An estimated 25 to 39 percent of workers in the state are misclassified, Mark said.

These workers are often paid under the table in cash, which cheats the state out of payroll taxes, worker’s compensation funds and payments into the unemployment insurance pool. The practice also harms honest business owners who can’t compete with contractors with unfairly low payroll costs.

Several dozen union laborers turned out for the hearing to show their stake in the issue and its impact on their livelihoods.

Read the full story at  Attorney general’s office seeks help enforcing labor laws – News – Wicked Local – Boston, MA

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