Wage theft occurs when an employer does not pay a worker for the work they have performed. There is growing evidence that the laws that provide workers with a guarantee of wages for work performed—minimum wage laws, overtime laws—are not being enforced. As a result, workers across the county and in North Carolina are facing the prospect of working without pay, or for less pay than they are entitled to.
The results are devastating for these families struggling to make ends meet and equally so for their communities. A decline in spending power means less demand for local business’s goods and services. In combination with the loss of wages, this decline in spending leads to a steep decline in tax revenue for local and state governments leading to fewer resources available to invest in economic recovery.
Wage theft costs North Carolina workers and their communities millions of dollars each year, and national survey data and state‐level data on industry incidence of wage theft find that workers in low‐wage occupations are more likely to experience wage violations than higher‐wage workers or workers in higher‐wage industries.