The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division is reporting that investigators
collected a total of $196.7 million in back wages for 288,296 workers in fiscal
year 2004, down from the $212.5 million it collected in fiscal year 2003.
In 2002, the department collected $175 million for workers.
This year, the department collected $43 million for nearly 85,000 employees
in industries such as garment, restaurant, and health care. In 2004, the number
of minors found employed in hazardous occupations declined by 25 percent.
"Our attention to protecting the rights and wages of workers in low-wage
industries has paid off for the most vulnerable workers in our country,"
says Assistant Secretary for Employment Standards Victoria A. Lipnic.
The Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces the minimum wage, overtime,
and child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); the Family
and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection
Act (MSPA); worker protections provided in several temporary visa programs;
and the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) and the Service
Contract Act (SCA).