Des Moines, IA—In a 26-23 vote, the state Senate passed Senate File 2295 today, an anti-wage theft bill that would establish greater protections for workers in Iowa.
The bill would penalize employers that do not pay their workers and require employers to inform their employees in writing about how the employee will be paid.
This bill would impact thousands of Iowa workers who far too often are not paid for the work they’ve completed.
A 2012 study by the Iowa Policy Project estimates that Iowans are losing out on $600 million a year in unpaid wages and $60 million a year in unpaid state revenue.
Senator Bill Dotzler (D-Blackhawk), the main sponsor of Senate File 2295 stated “This bill is common sense. If you work you should be paid. It is the right thing to do.”
Last fall, CCI Action Fund member Ismael Ochoa worked for weeks on a construction project in Des Moines and despite completing the job, he was not paid for over 50 hours of work on the project. Mr. Ochoa’s employer stopped answering his phone calls and despite winning his case at Small Claims court, Mr. Ochoa is unable to collect his wages from his ex-employer.
“If a person goes to a store and steals something, the police would arrest them and charge them with a crime right away. When an employer in the state of Iowa hires a worker and does not pay them for the work they did, that employer has stolen from the worker. Yet nothing happens to that employer. It is not fair. We need legislation that protects workers from this type of theft,” said Mr. Ochoa.
Members of Iowa CCI Action demand that Representative Forristall, Chairman of the House Labor Committee, and Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen take action and advance these bills in the House. Despite continued pressure from community members, Mr. Forristall has failed to schedule a sub-committee on House File 38 the House version of Senate File 2295.
“Workers, especially low-income and immigrant workers are facing a wage theft epidemic in our state. It is time our legislators take action and stop unscrupulous employers from robbing workers of their hard-earned wages,” said Ochoa.
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