HB19-1267 Concerning penalties for failure to pay wages goes into effect on 1/1/2020. A summary of what the bill does is below:
- The act defines wage theft as theft, which is a felony when the theft is of an amount greater than $2,000. The act adds refusing to pay wages or compensation with the intent to coerce a person who is owed wages as conduct that constitutes wage theft. The act removes the exemption from criminal penalties for an employer who is unable to pay wages or compensation because of a chapter 7 bankruptcy action or other court action resulting in the employer having limited control over his or her assets.
- The act defines “employee” as any person who performs labor or services for the benefit of an employer and provides factors that are relevant for determining whether a person is an employee. The act defines “employer” as having the same meaning as set forth in the federal “Fair Labor Standards Act” and specifically includes foreign labor contractors and migratory field labor contractors or crew leaders in the definition.
- The act defines intentionally paying a wage less than the minimum wage as theft, which is a felony when the theft is of an amount greater than $2,000.