Change to Idaho Wage & Hour Law May Increase Worker Claims

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Idaho’s workers will soon have more time to file their wage and hour claims against their employers. House Bill 113 was signed into law by the Governor on March 18, 2019, and goes into effect on July 1, 2019. According to the bill’s statement of purpose, “The Idaho Department of Labor currently has 916 open claims. Approximately 70 percent of these open claims are for partial unpaid wages or additional wages owed. The Department receives an average of six new claims each day. Current unpaid wage claims filed with the Idaho Department of Labor are estimated to be worth $1.5 million ($1,448,435). Through December 2018, collections resulted in an approximate recovery of $373,340. During November and December of 2018, Department staff collected $40,165 for 91 claims.”

The bill amends existing law which required workers, in some circumstances, to file their wage and hour claims against their employers within six months from when the claim arose. The amendment doubles the time to file to twelve months. Theoretically, this would increase the possibility and number of claims against employers for unpaid or underpaid worker wages. Employers, to avoid some penalties, should not withhold wages because there is a dispute about what wages are owed. Instead, they should pay all undisputed wages and then discuss the disputed portion with the employee.

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