SPRINGFIELD, Ill., June 7, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Illinois legislature has passed groundbreaking legislation (SB1720) to address wage theft in Illinois. Wage theft is estimated to cost American workers over $50 billion per year and news reports have shown Illinois is a very difficult and complex state for workers seeking to recoup stolen wages. The legislation prohibits businesses who violate state law on the payment of wages from receiving taxpayer-funded state contracts for at least five years. SB1720 also increases the penalty for disobeying a court order to pay back wages the court finds to have been stolen from an employee.
"In this time of fiscal crisis, we need to make sure that taxpayer-funded state contracts are only going to companies which treat their employees fairly. The vast majority of Illinois businesses, which play by the rules and do right by their employees, deserve a level playing field. Taxpayers deserve more confidence on how their money is spent. I was proud to support this common-sense measure," said State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) who voted for SB1720.
According to HourVoice, wage theft takes many forms, including: shorting workers on their hours, not paying the minimum wage, and not properly paying overtime. It impacts employees in every region of Illinois - at all wage levels and in a wide array of industries.
"Wage theft is estimated to drain $800 million - $3 billion a year from the Illinois economy," said State Representative Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero) who sponsored the measure. "It can also push people below the poverty line and make it harder for working parents to support their children. But when low-income workers get the full pay they have earned, they improve the local and state economy with the dollars they spend."
Senate Bill 1720 passed both the House and Senate and now heads to Gov. Rauner for consideration. Legislators worked on the groundbreaking measure with grassroots organization HourVoice (www.HourVoice.com), which provides hourly workers and their advocates with new technologies for creating better workplaces.