Low-Wage Workers Get Cheated Routinely, Survey Finds

People getting by on low wages also tend to lose out on overtime they've earned, and they're more likely to get paid less than the minimum wage. Those are the findings in "Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers," a new study by the Ford, Joyce, Haynes and Russell Sage Foundations.

The New York Times runs the numbers:

In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries, including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing, the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15 percent loss in pay.

The Times calls the study "the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade." Of the workers interviewed, 68 percent had been through at least one violation of their pay rights in the past work week. Female illegal immigrants were most likely to report they'd earned less than the minimum wage — in industries ranging from garment work to childcare.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.