Thousands of San Diego employees are owed wages

Thousands of employees are estimated to be owed wages in San Diego.

While minimum wage in California has gone up to $11 an hour for businesses with 25 employees and more this year, the minimum wage in San Diego has remained at $11.50. San Diego workers are also guaranteed a minimum of five paid sick days per year.

However, many San Diego workers are not receiving the wages they are owed.

According to Kyra Greene, the director of a nonprofit advocacy center for public policy, the number of employees owed wages is actually much higher. The Center on Policy Initiatives estimates that 40,000 employees in San Diego and Imperial counties did not receive the payment they were owed in 2017, according to a recent study.

Employment attorneys have long worked to enforce wage and hour laws, including minimum wage laws. More recently, the City of San Diego also began to crack down on businesses. As a result of the City’s Enforcement, over 99 employees received $32,844.98 in back pay from eight businesses. Additionally, two businesses paid the city $28,000 in fines for violating minimum wage law.

According to Strong Advocates Executive Director, Betsy Havens, these fines and back pay are negligible in comparison to the amount of money that workers in San Diego and throughout the state are likely owed as a result of wage abuses.

“Employers often take advantage of their workers, forcing them to work without pay, failing to pay overtime and double time when it is owed, and misclassifying workers as salary when they should be paid hourly and be eligible for overtime. Lawyers can only help those individuals who recognize these abuses and take courageous, proactive actions to address it. Cities, however, are in a unique position to do more to monitor businesses to enforce our state laws,” added Havens.