NCL’s Special Project on Wage Theft – National Consumers League

The National Consumers League’s Special Project on Wage Theft seeks to raise awareness about the nature of wage theft in the United States and strives to educate consumers, workers, businesses and governments about wage theft issues. Read this Q & A to learn more about what wage theft is and who it affects.

What is wage theft?

“Wage theft” is a complex and growing problem. Wage theft occurs when employers illegally underpay their workers. This happens to low wage workers as well as the middle class, especially since the two most common methods of wage theft are unpaid overtime & employee misclassification.

Who does wage theft affect?

Wage theft affects millions of blue-collar and white-collar workers each year, often forcing them to choose between paying the rent or putting food on the table. It robs the government of taxes and puts ethical employers at a competitive disadvantage.

What does the federal law say?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay is set at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the regular rates of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

Where can I get more information?

For more information regarding wage theft and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA),  please contact the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division at or the US Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Advisor at and/or call the toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866- 4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).