February 10, 2009

Lehman wage protection bill passes Senate

If your company declares bankruptcy while owing you up to $10,950 in wages ... well, you may be able to get paid, thanks to legislation written by state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine,21st District, and passed by the Senate Tuesday.

Under current law, workers have a priority over other creditors for only the first $3,000 in unpaid wages, a figure the Department of Workforce Development says is often exceeded.

“In these tough economic times it’s important to make sure state law helps, not hurts, hard-working families. The current law is keeping workers from getting the wages they’ve earned, and that needs to be changed,” Lehman said.

“Losing a job and having to find a new one in this economy is tough enough. Workers and their families shouldn’t also have to go unpaid for the work they’ve already done or lose benefits they’ve already earned. Passage of the Wage Protection Act in the Senate today is a big step toward putting state law back on the side of the people of Wisconsin by making sure that a day’s work equals a day’s pay,” he said.

The bill passed by the Senate requires that the recoverable amount be adjusted annually by increases in the consumer price index. The new $10,950 cap and inflationary indexing provision is consistent with federal bankruptcy law.

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