Friday, April 15, 2011

House Budget Writers Endorse Republicans' Position on Wage Violation Penalties

What a difference a few years make.

In 2008, over the objections of Republican lawmakers, the Legislature approved a change in the General Laws mandating that all employers be subject to treble damages for wage violations, even if the violation was unintentional. At the time, Republicans argued that treble damages should apply only in those cases where the wage violation was committed willfully and intentionally. Even Governor Patrick acknowledged that the proposed changes were "overly punitive" to those employers who made an honest mistake.

Fast forward three years later, as the House Ways and Means Committee released its budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012. Included in the budget is language that reverses the 2008 changes and limits treble damages to those cases where the delay in paying wages to an employee was done intentionally. Be sure to check out the State House News Service's coverage of this latest development, which includes comments from Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr.