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U.S. Dept. of Labor probe recovers $1.4M in back wages for 1,853 P.R. workers

Following a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation, Xperts Inc. — a San Juan-based disaster response contractor — has paid $1,341,829 in back wages to 1,853 employees to resolve violations to several agency regulations.

The federal agency announced it found breaches to the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA), and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD investigators determined that the contractor violated the SCA when it failed to pay employees the full amount of the prevailing wages, fringe benefits, and holidays required by law under its federal contract.

Xperts Inc. violated the CWHSSA by failing to pay employees required overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek on the contract, the Department of Labor stated.

The employer also violated FLSA record-keeping requirements when it failed to keep accurate records of the number of hours employees worked. As a result, Xperts paid employees $777,379 for the SCA wage violations and $564,450 for the CWHSSA overtime violations.

“The U.S. Department of Labor continues to support ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico to recover from the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and María by ensuring all workers are paid fairly and in accordance with applicable federal laws,” said Wage and Hour Division Caribbean District Director José Vázquez.

“Our work continues to level the playing field so that contractors who abide by the law do not find themselves at a competitive disadvantage to those who do not. We encourage all contractors to reach out to us for guidance and to make use of the many tools we provide to explain their responsibilities,” he said.

The SCA requires contractors and subcontractors performing services on prime contracts in excess of $2,500 to pay service employees in various classes no less than the wage rates and fringe benefits found prevailing in the locality, or the rates, including prospective increases, contained in a predecessor contractor’s collective bargaining agreement.

The CWHSSA requires contractors and subcontractors to pay workers employed in the performance of covered contracts one-and-one-half times their basic rates of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek, the agency explained.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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