About Wage Theft

WAGE THEFT IMPACTS ONE IN SIX CALIFORNIA CONSTRUCTION WORKERS


The Underground Economy is a multi-billion dollar marketplace for employers who break the law, and affects one in six California construction workers. By not complying with basic payroll and reporting requirements, employers who operate in the underground economy gain an unfair competitive advantage over honest businesses, steal billions of dollars in wages from their workers and cheat California taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars every year!

How big is the problem and who is being impacted?

  • 144,000 California construction jobs in 2011 were not reported by their employers or were misclassified — a 400% increase since 1972.
  • Construction workers in the underground economy earn half of what property reported workers earn, and are three times more likely to live in poverty.
  • In 2011, criminal construction employers stole $1.2 billion in wages from workers, and another $775 million from taxpayers.

 

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