U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division representatives are working in St. Croix and St. Thomas to provide compliance assistance and education for employers, and to investigate payroll practices related to ongoing recovery efforts following Hurricanes Irma and María, the agency announced.
WHD will review employers’ compliance with federal labor statutes including the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act, the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Investigators will determine whether employers are paying employees in compliance with the requirements of those laws, covering both private work and construction and/or services taking place as part of federally funded recovery, the agency noted.
Common violations that investigators will watch for include failure to pay employees for all the hours they have worked, failing to pay workers minimum wage or overtime after misclassifying them as independent contractors, and failing to pay required wages and fringe benefits under federal service and construction contracts.
These efforts are a continuation of WHD’s education and enforcement work in the USVI. Through Fiscal Year 2018 and January 2019, the agency concluded 17 investigations in USVI that recovered $1.3 million in back wages for 262 employees of contractors working on recovery efforts.
“The U.S. Department of Labor continues working to ensure that employees performing hurricane recovery work have received and will receive the wages and benefits they have legally earned, and that employers compete on a level playing field,” said Wage and Hour Division Caribbean District Director José Vazquez.