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CHART: Wage Theft (by Bosses) More Than Doubles Actual Theft (by Robbers) in Kentucky


Kentuckians lose more than twice the amount of money to bad bosses than they do to robbers according to an odd new chart from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.  

Comparing numbers from the Kentucky State Police to their own data, the office discovered $2.5 million more in wage theft (from 12,264 victims) than common theft (from 1,937 victims).

“You hear about robberies on the news all the time, but wage theft is a bigger problem,” Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts said.  “Wage theft happens every day in Kentucky, and it impacts numerous industries and multiple types of workers. Not only are employees cheated, but taxpayers are as well, because no payroll taxes are paid on that money unless the Labor Cabinet collects it as restitution for the employees.”

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet counts wage theft as unpaid overtime; withheld final paychecks; illegal deductions of pay; lower pay than the legal minimum wage requirement; misclassification of workers as independent contractors; unpaid breaks; time-clock shaving; mandatory tip-pooling; prevailing wage violations. Adding to the problem of unscrupulous employers is that the state has only 15 wage and hour inspectors to cover more than 1.9 million workers, an average of one inspector for every 126,600 workers.

More detail from the report:

The total value of items taken during all robberies was $2,568,236 for 2013, $2,131,150 for 2012 and $1,454,190 for 2011. The average amount for those three years was $2,051,192.

For wage restitution, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet collected $4,376,588 in 2013, $6,035,364 in 2012 and $3,260,501 in 2011. Those three years averaged $4,557,484 in wage restitution each year.

For all robberies in Kentucky, including banks, chain and convenience stores, homes, commercial offices, highway/street and miscellaneous robberies, there were 5,813 offenses combined during the last three years, for an average of 1,937 a year. For wage theft from 2011-13, there were 36,794 employees who were victims, for an average of 12,264 each year.

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