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Empowering the commissioner of labor to enforce the law and hold hearings goes far in remedying the inadequacies of the law with respect to the wage earner and his claims. An administrative official handling wage-claim cases has, by virtue of specialization, an advantage over the courts which must render decisions covering the entire field of the law. Nor is the labor commissioner bound by the technical rules of procedure and evidence which cause so much delay in litigation. Through the method of informal hearings the commissioner can speedily determine the facts of the case and usually persuade the contestants to settle upon the basis of his findings.

But all cases cannot be settled by the commissioner. There are claims the validity of which must be decided by the courts since the parties can come to no agreement. To aid the wage claimant who is thus compelled to go to court, this draft permits the commissioner to take assignments of the worker's claim and sue the employer on behalf of the claimant. This relieves the worker from the necessity of hiring a lawyer to secure wages due him.

The committee believes that the enactment of statutes following the pattern of this draft will do much to meet the present inadequacies of the law with respect to wage claimants. Labor commissioners having the power to enforce wage-payment laws in conjunction with legal-aid societies and small-claim courts, where these exist, will make it possible for wage earners to receive that legal protection which the law entitles them. Criticism and correction of this preliminary draft is invited in the hope that in its final form the model bill will achieve its aim.

Proposed State Wage-Payment and Wage-Collection Law 1 SECTION 1. Definitions.-(a) Whenever used in this act, "employer" includes Every person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, receiver or other officer of a court of this state, and any agent or officer of any of the above-mentioned classes, employing any person in this State.

(b) 'Wages” shall mean all amounts at which the labor or servi rendere is recompensed, whether the amount is fixed or ascertained on a time, task, piece, commission basis, or other method of calculating such amount.

Sec. 2. Semimonthly pay day.--Every employer shall pay to his employees the Tages earned semimonthly or twice during each calendar month, on days to be designated in advance by the employer as the regular pay day: Provided, That **e employer shall pay for services rendered during the first and fifteenth days, itelusive, of any calendar month, by the eighteenth day of the month during Touch the said services were rendered; and for all services rendered between the sixteenth and last days, inclusive, of any calendar month, he shall pay by the third day of the following month. He shall pay such wages in full, in lawful money of the United States, or checks on banks, convertible into cash on demand at full face value thereof.

Recommended by International Association of Governmental Labor Officials, Sept. 26, 1936. (See p. 230). Drafted by the following joint committee appointed by the Secretary of Labur and the president of the international Association of Governmental Labor Officials: E. I. McKinley, chairman, Commissioner, Barean of Labor and Statistics of Arkansas; Morgan Mooney, Deputy Commissioner of Labor of Connec1. W. A. Pat Murphy, Commissioner of Labor of Oklahoma; Harry R. McLogan, member of Industrial Cumission of Wisconsin; 0. B. Chapman, director, Department of Industrial Relations of Ohio. Secretary to committee, Jean A. Flexner, U. 8. Department of Labor; legal adviser, Henry Lehman, U. S. Dwartment of Labor.

Additional copies may be obtained by writing to the Division of Labor Standards, U. S. Department of Labo, Wasbington, D. C.

Sec. 3. Posting and notification.--(a) It shall be the duty of every employer to notify his employees in writing at the time of hiring of the day, the hour therein and place of payment, of the rate of pay, and of any change with respect to any of these items prior to the time of said change. Alternatively, however, every employer shall have the option of giving such notification by posting the aforementioned facts, and keeping them posted, conspicuously at or near the place of work where such posted notice can be seen by each employee as he comes or goes to his place of work.

(6) Every employer shall post and keep posted, in a similar manner as prescribed for the posting in paragraph (a) of this section, an abstract of this act furnished by the labor commissioner; Provided, however, That the provisions of paragraph (6) of this section shall not apply to domestic labor in private homes or agricultural labor.

(c) Failure to post and to keep posted any notice or abstract as well as any failure to give written notice as prescribed in this section shall be deemed a misdemeanor, and punishable as such.

Sec. 4. Employees who are separated from pay roll before pay days.--(a) Discharged employees. Whenever an employer separates an employee from the pay roll the unpaid wages or compensation of such employee shall become due im. mediately, and the employer shall pay such wages to the employee within 24 hours of the time of separation.

In case of any failure to pay wages due an employee within 24 hours of a demand therefor, the wages of such employee shall continue from the date of separation until paid at the same rate which said employee received at the time of the separation. The employee may recover the penalty thus accruing to him in a civil action. Said action must be commenced within 60 days from the date of separation; Provided, however, That any employee who secretes or absents himself to avoid payınent to him or who refuses to receive payment when tendered shall not be entitled to any penalty under this paragraph for such time as he avoids payment.

(6) Employees quitting. Whenever an employee (not having a written contract for a definite period) quits or resigns his employment, the wages or compensation earned shall become due and payable not later than 72 hours thereafter, unless such employee shall have given 72 hours' previous notice of his intention to quit, in which latter case such employee shall receive his wages and compensation at the time of quitting.

(c) Industrial disputes. In the event of the suspension of work as the result of an industrial dispute, the wages and compensation earned and unpaid at the time of said suspension shall become due and payable at the next regular pay day, as provided in section 2 of this act, including, without abatement or reduction, all amounts due all persons whose work has been suspended as a result of such industrial dispute, together with any deposit or other guaranty held by the employer for the faithful performance of the duties of the employment.

Sec. 5. Unconditional payment of wages conceded to be due. In case of a dispute over wages, the employer shall give written notice to the employee of the amount of wages which he concedes to be due and shall pay such amount without condition within the time set by this act: Provided, That acceptance by the employee of any payment made hereunder shall not constitute a release as to the balance of his claim.

Sec. 6. Provisions of law may not be waived by agreement.-- Nothing contained in this act shall in any way limit or prohibit the payment of wages or compensatiop at more frequent intervals, or in greater amounts or in full when or before due, but no provision of this act can in any way be contravened or set aside by & private agreement.

Sec. 7. Employer's responsibility for contractor's pay roll.--(a) Whenever an employer shall contract with another, herein called the subcontractor

, for the performance of the employer's work, then it shall be the duty of such an employer to provide in such contract that the employees of the subcontractor shall be paid according to the provisions of this act; and in the event that such subcontractor shall fail to pay wages to his employees as specified in this act, such employer shall become civilly liable to the employees of the subcontractor to the extent that such work is performed under such contract in the same manner as if said employees were directly employed by such employer.

(6) The provisions of paragraph® (a) of this section shall likewise be deemed applicable to any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation who not being an employer, and hereinafter referred to in this act as an "indirect employer”, contracts with a subcontractor for the performance of his work.

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Sec. 8. Enforcement.-(a) It shall be the duty of the labor commissioner to insure compliance with the provisions of this act, to investigate as to any violations of this act, and to institute or cause to be instituted actions for penalties and forfeitures provided hereunder. The labor commissioner may hold hearings to satisfy himself as to the justice of any claim, and he shall coc perate with any employee in the enforcement of a claim against his employer or any "indirect employer" as defined in section 7, in any case whenever, in his opinion, the claim is just and valid.

(b) It shall be mandatory upon all district attorneys and prosecuting attorneys of this state to prosecute all cases, both civilly and criminally, which shall be referred by the labor commissioner to such officers.

(c) It shall be the duty of all such officers to prosecute actions, both civil and criminal, for such violations of this act as come to their knowledge and to enforce the provisions hereof independently.

Sec. 9. Records, subpoenas, etc.-(a) Every employer shall keep a true and accurate record of hours worked and wages paid each pay period to each employee in such form as may be prescribed by the labor commissioner. He shall keep such records on file for at least 1 year after the entry of the record.

(6) The labor commissioner and his authorized representatives shall have the right to enter any place of employment for the purpose of inspecting such records and seeing that all provisions of this act are complied with: Provided, however, That paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply to domestic service in private homes, nor to agricultural labor.

(C) Any effort of an employer to obstruct the labor commissioner and his authorized representatives in the performance of their duties shall be deemed a violation of this act and punishable as such.

(d) The labor commissioner and his authorized representatives shall have power to administer oaths and examine witnesses under oath, issue subpoenas, compel the attendance of witnesses, and the production of papers, books, accounts, records, pay rolls, documents, and testimony, and to take depositions and affidavits in any proceeding before said labor commissioner.

(e) In case of failure of any person to comply with any subpoena lawfully issued, or on the refusal of any witnesses to testify to any matter regarding which he may be lawfully interrogated, it shall be the duty of the circuit court of any county, or the judge thereof, on application by the commissioner, to compel obedience by attachment proceedings for contempt, as in the case of disobedience of the requirements of a subpoena issued from such court or a refusal to testify therein.

Sec. 10. Personnel.-The labor commissioner, pursuant to the law of this State, may employ such clerical and other assistants as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this act, and shall fix the compensation of such employees and may also, to carry out such purposes, incur reasonable and necessary traveling expenses for the said commissioner, his deputies, and assistants.

Sec. 11. Forfeiture and penalties.-(a) Any employer who shall violate or fail to comply with any of the provisions of this act, shall forfeit $10 for each such violation or noncompliance. Each day of failure to pay wages due such employees at the time specified in this act shall raise a separate and distinct forfeiture. All such forfeitures shall be recovered in an action of debt in the name of the State of...

(6) Any employer who shall violate, or fail to comply with any of the provisions of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $50 for each separate offense, or by imprisonment of not less than 10 nor more than 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(c) Any employer who, having the ability to pay, shall willfully refuse to pay the wages due and payable when demanded, as in this act provided, or who shail falsely deny the amount thereof, or that the same is due, with intent to secure for himself

, or any other person, any discount upon such indebtedness, or with intent to annoy, harass, or oppress, or hinder or delay, or defraud, the person to whom such indebtedness is due, or who hires additional employees without advising each of them of every wage claim due and unpaid and of every judgment that the employer has failed to satisfy, shall in addition to any other penalty imposed upon him by this act, be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than $50 and not exceeding $100, or by imprisonment for a period not less than 1 month and not to exceed 3 months, or both, if the sum involved does not exceed $200; and if the sum exceeds $200, by imprisonment for not less than 6 months nor more than 1 year.

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Sec. 12. Assignment of wage claims to labor commissioner for recovery by civil action.— The labor commissioner shall have power and authority to take assignments of wage claims, rights of action for penalties provided by section 4 of this act, mechanics' and other liens of workers, not to exceed $200 in the case of any one claim without being bound by any of the technical rules with reference to the validity of such assignments; and shall have power and authority to prosecute actions for the collection of such claims of persons who, in the judgment of the commissioner, are entitled to the services of the commissioner and who, in his judgment, have claims which are valid and enforceable in the courts. The commissioner shall have power to join various claimants in one preferred claim or lien, and in case of suit to join them in one cause of action.

Sec. 13. Costs of civil actions by labor commissioner.-(a) In all actions brought by the labor commissioner as assignee under section 12 of this act, no court costs of any nature shall be required to be advanced nor shall any bond or other security therefor be required from the said commissioner in connection with the same.

(6) And any sheriff, constable or other officer requested by the said commissioner to serve summons, writs, complaints, orders, including any garnishment papers and all necessary and legal papers, within his jurisdiction, shall do so without requiring the commissioner to advance the fees or furnish any security or bond therefor.

(c) Whenever the commissioner shall require that the sheriff, constable or other officer whose duty it is to seize property or levy thereon in any attachment proceedings, or to satisfy any wage claim judgment, said officer shall do so without requiring the commissioner to furnish any security or bond in such action, And such officer in carrying out the provisions of this paragraph shall not be responsible in damages for any wrongful seizure made in good faith.

But whenever anyone other than the defendant claims the right of possession or ownership to such seized property, then in such case the officer may permit such claimant to have the custody of such property pending a determination of the court as to who has right of possession or ownership of such property.

(d) Any garnishee defendant shall be required to appear and make answer in any such action, as required by law, without having paid to him in advance witness fees, but such witness fees shall be included as part of the taxable costs of such action.

Out of any recovery on a judgment in such a suit, there shall be paid: First, the witness fees to the garnishee defendant; second, the wage claims involved; third, the sheriff's or constable's fees; and fourth, the court costs.

Sec. 14. Separability of provisions.—If any provision of this act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of the act, and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

Memorandum to accompany draft 2 of wage-payment and wage-collection law

This draft bill does not propose a new and untried piece of legislation, but is a composite of the provisions found in existing State laws. While no one law contains all of the suggestions, there is a background of experience for each of the following sections. What the draft attempts is to select from existing statutes and administrative practices those which seem best calculated to achieve the objects set forth, and to phrase them in unambiguous legal language.

The object of this legislation is (1) to bring about payment of wages, in full, on regular pay days known to all employees, at intervals that are sufficiently close together to enable the employees to live on a cash rather than a credit basis; (2) to assure prompt payment of workers separated from the pay roll so that they will be free to look for other jobs; (3) to enable the State department of labor to render assistance in collecting valid claims for wages due and unpaid, without expense to the wage-earner claimants, and without undue delay.

SECTION 1. Definitions.—The draft law covers all private employers whether they are corporations, partnerships, or individuals, and includes receivers. If in any State it appears desirable to have the act apply to the State, to its political subdivisions, or to quasi-public corporations, special provision must be made.

: The tentative draft submitted with the committee report is omitted, the proposed law as recommended by the I. A. G. L. O. being shown on p. 141.

Coverage of both individual and corporate employers is actually more common among State laws than coverage of corporations only. Of 39 States requiring certain classes of employers to observe regular pay days, 15 apply to corporations only or to railroads only, while 24 apply to corporations, individual employers, and partnerships, in one or more occupations. The wage-payment laws of California, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin apply to all employers in all industries.

The draft bill defines employer to include "agents and officers” of employers. This provision is important, in order to hold responsible the individuals in a corporation or firm who have the authority relating to time and place of wage payment. The wage laws of California and Massachuseits contain a similar provision.

Unlike other types of legislation which are difficult to enforce as regards employers of domestic and farm labor, on account of the inspection problem, there is no difficulty in making this type of law applicable to domestic and farm labor, for the law is not enforced by inspection, but rather on complaint. There is just as much reason to protect the agricultural or domestic worker against nonpayment of wages as there is to protect any other worker. The State labor department officials who now try to make collections for such workers report frequent abuses and requests for assistance. Among the States in which the wage laws already extend to either farm or domestic workers, or both, are Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.

Sec. 2. Semimonthly pay day.--Unless pay days come at frequent intervals, their value to the employees is diminished because the employees will have drawn their money in advance, at a discount, and when pay days do occur there are no cach settlements to be made. In actual practice the spacing of pay days, and the length of holdover, varies somewhat among reputable concerns. Some employers pay weekly, others every 2 weeks, some bimonthly. Employers of large numbers of piece workers find it difficult or impossible to settle up to, and ineluding, the day of payment. The suggested language allows some latitude for these practices.

The reason for specifying that the employer shall pay wages in lawful money or in readily convertible checks is to prevent payment of wages in nonnegotiable scrip. The words "in full” are added to the sentence to prevent an employer from making a partial payment at 16-day intervals, with settlements in full at very much longer intervals, thus, meanwhile, keeping the employee in debt.

Sec. 3. Posting and notification.-Such a provision as that suggested will assist the department of labor in its efforts to accustom employers to meeting their pay-roll obligations regularly, thus avoiding one of the most difficult problems in wage-claim collection-namely, the accumulation of large arrears of wages owend Posting will notify the employees of their rights and instruct them how to obtain assistance by promptly reporting delinquent employers, rather than trusting to promises for an indefinite period.

The employer is allowed a choice of method in the draft law; that is, he may Dotify each employee either in writing or by posting pay days. It is believed that in most businesses employers will prefer to post the notification. However, such a requirement would be impracticable in the case of agricultural or domestic lah or in private homes. Similarly, the posting of the act or an abstract thereof is not required in private homes or on farms.

SEC. 4. Employees who are separated from the pay roll before pay day.- When the employer takes the initiative in separating an employee from the pay roll, gond practice is to pay the wages owed forthwith, thus freeing the employee to Look for another job, without the necessity for returning to his former work place at a time which may be inconvenient to his new employer or to himself. The bill makes this practice mandatory, and if the employer does not pay a discharged

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