US Workers are Owed $163 Million in Undistributed Back Pay

( – The U.S. Department of Labor recently suggested that as many as 208,000 Americans are owed back pay from companies that violated the law. A total amount of $163.3 million is allegedly owed to workers and they only have three years to claim the funds.

Back pay is an amount owed to a worker that never made it into their pockets. Oftentimes it can be vacation time or other accrued personal time off that didn’t make it into their final check.

The Department of Labor has set up a website with its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to facilitate the payments. The website will let anyone look up if they’re owed any back pay from work with a prior employer. A curious worker will have to find a prior employer on the list of offending companies before they can apply for the funds.

WHD employees said that the funds are often leftover after an employee leaves a job and changes their contact information. This leaves no recourse but for the Labor Department to attempt to track them down. The website will give them an additional tool by allowing the workers to come to them.

WHD workers added that the wages lost often belong to minorities, low-income earners, and migrant workers. The change of address or lack of other contact information makes it difficult to ensure they get their money.

WHD administrator Jessica Looman speaking with USA Today said that making sure employees get paid for the work is one of their top priorities. Workers that don’t get paid within three years lose their rights to claim the funds and they go straight to Uncle Sam via the U.S. Treasury.

The Labor Department had facilitated payments to workers totaling nearly $27 million in 2023, but there are still thousands of individuals owed money with their name on it.

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