Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

New York Daily News: “AG Schneiderman Slams Trump Admin Program as ‘Get Out of Jail Free card’ for Predatory Employers

April 5, 2018

As published in The New York Daily News on April 4, 2018

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ripped into a new Trump administration program Wednesday, saying it protects predatory employers at the expense of stiffed workers.

The Labor Department’s pilot program is designed to expedite payments to workers after employers self-report inadvertent overtime and minimum wage violations.

But Schneiderman said the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program actually allows businesses to avoid any punishment for committing wage theft while blocking victims from suing to vindicate their rights.

“The Trump Labor Department’s ‘PAID Program’ is nothing more than a Get Out of Jail Free card for predatory employers,” Schneiderman said.

The Labor Department did not respond directly to Schneiderman’s claims.

But a spokesman noted that the program is voluntary for both employers and workers.

“It is purely the employee’s choice whether to accept the payment of back wages due, and employers are prohibited from retaliating against the employee for his or her choice,” a spokesman said.

The Trump administration unveiled the program last month, billing it as a way to quickly reimburse workers for lost wages without forcing them to endure pricey litigation.

Under the plan, the Labor Department won’t impose penalties to those employers who come forward to admit their mistakes.

The six-month pilot program went into effect this week.

In his statement, Schneiderman said his office has won back more than $30 million in stolen wages and additional damages for some 21,000 workers.