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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

UPDATED: Governor signs worker pay protection bill

UPDATED: Bill protecting workers’ pay from unauthorized deductions passes General Assembly

EDITOR'S UPDATE: The Governor signed this bill into law on July 7.

Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi’s (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) legislation (2017-H 5932Aaa / 2017-S 0350B) that prohibits employers from making deductions from an employee’s wages without written authorization from the worker passed the General Assembly tonight.

“It is completely unfair for a hard working restaurant employee to lose their wages if a person skips out on a check or they break a plate.  There should be no unilateral wage deduction from an employee without any kind of notice or consent.  This bill will protect workers who need every single cent that goes into their pockets from a day’s work,” said Representative Craven, Chairman of the House Committee on Labor.

“Employers cannot take away an employees hard-earned wages unilaterally without any notice.  That is a fundamentally unfair labor practice that needs to end.  People work too hard to be subjected to such treatment and this bill will ensure that employees’ wages are protected from unscrupulous employers,” said Senator Lombardi.

The legislation states that employers cannot deduct wages from a worker for reasons such as spoilage or breakage of equipment or product, any amount of shortages or losses, and fines or penalties for tardiness, misconduct, or quitting without notice.  

Employers would only be able to deduct wages if the employee gives written authorization to deduct their wages.  

Authorization would include if the employee agreed to a collective bargaining agreement between a representative of the employee and the employer that authorized certain deductions.

The bill now heads to the governor’s office for consideration.