Some employers have done their best to look after their workers this year, despite a drop in business. Others have taken full advantage of the situation to enact wage abuses causing hardship for their employees.
Wage abuse is on the rise
When the number of jobs available drops, competition for them increases. Some employers use this to their advantage to hire employees at lower rates than they were paying before. While this can help to keep people employed, there are limits. New York labor laws remain in place and they stipulate the minimum wage allowable. It is currently $11.80 per hour and is due to rise to $15.00 per hour at the end of the year.
A study by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth found that wage theft increases in a recession. They found that during the 2007 to 2009 recession, it increased almost in parallel to the unemployment rate.
Some people are more likely to suffer wage abuse than others
As with many things in life, specific sectors of society suffer more than others. The study found that undocumented workers were twice at risk of wage theft than those with citizenship. Black workers were 50% more likely, and Latino workers 84% more likely than white men to suffer from wage abuse in a recession. Women were more at risk than men.
Just because you are thankful to have some income does not mean you need to put up with wage abuse. If it is happening to you, seek legal help to protect your rights. Even if you do not have the correct immigration papers, you still have the rights to be paid fairly.