Senate passes two bills governing unpaid wages

Senate passes two bills governing unpaid wages

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Senate passed two pieces of legislation Thursday designed to curtail the theft of wages from employees by unscrupulous employers. The measures offer employees improved methods for collecting unpaid wages.

The first piece of legislation passed was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, of District 4, North Providence, Providence. Ruggerio’s bill would establish a procedure for employees to secure liens against employers for unpaid wages and contested claims would be decided by the Superior Court.

“There is no excuse for loyal and hardworking employees to not get paid what they are owed,” said Ruggerio. “It’s simple, if an employee does their job, they should get paid. This legislation will provide those employees who are wronged by their employers an effective way of obtaining their rightfully earned pay.”

The second piece of legislation was sponsored by Sen. Donna Nesselbush, of District 15, Pawtucket, North Providence. Nesselbush’s legislation increases the penalties for nonpayment of wages and improves access to the justice system for aggrieved employees to file claims against no paying employers for unpaid wages.

“Wage theft is one step above slavery and must be eradicated," she said. "Workers are the engine and backbone of our economy, our families and our society. We need to treat them fairly which means we must rout out wage theft wherever we see it and wherever we find it."

Too often, said Nesselbush, workers are taken advantage of through "greed and arrogance." She said unscrupulous employers are not above the law.

"Immigrants and those with little education and who earn low wages to begin with are disproportionately the victims of wage theft," she said. "These are the individuals these measures seek to protect and assist. This legislation will give employees a mechanism to fight back against such practices and collect what they are owed.”

Both pieces of legislation now head to the House of Representatives.


Union bosses in the GA aught to look in the mirror. Most contractors get stiffed by union rates and work as the union tells you to mentality. Then the contractors get paid in 60 to 120 days after the work is done. So on the immigrant side (we don't have to talk about illegal or not), what we have here is a union move to get them into the union.
We need "Right To Work Rules" in Tax Island not more union dues paying regulations. The state would become more competitive and employees would be paid better and on time.