US Labor Department seeks Wisconsin workers owed more than $1.5 million in back wages

More than $1.5 million in back wages remain unclaimed by Wisconsin workers, the federal Department of Labor (DoL) found.

The Department of Labor released its most recent findings on back wages owed to employees this week. The Department of Labor’s (DoL) Wage and Hour Division found that over $1.5 million dollars in back wages were owed to over 1,3000 employees in Wisconsin. Over $274 million has been recovered nationwide for 163,000 workers.

Payment of back wages is the compensatory remedy for wage violations that an employer should have paid employees. It is the result of a variety of issues, but not limited to: wrongful termination, underpayment, unpaid overtime, passed over promotions, lapses in pay from address changes and many more instances that would cause you not to receive wages due.  

The bulk of unclaimed wages in Wisconsin come from Eau Claire County with $828,127.05. The DoL did not have any insights as to why the county had the highest in Wisconsin.

Dane County reports the second highest in the state at $114,148.67; Milwaukee at $51,035.05; Adams at $49,026.66; and Rusk at $43,239.20 sit as the top counties with the highest rates of back wages in Wisconsin.

“A significant portion of that money remains unclaimed because some of the workers due back wages cannot be located,” said Scott Allen, Regional Director for Public Affairs with the DoL. “The Wage and Hour Division can only hold unclaimed back wages for three years before we are required to turn it over to the Department of the Treasury. Despite our best efforts, too much of this money remains unclaimed.”

Most back wages go unclaimed, but the DoL’s Wage and Hour Division has created a search tool to see if you are owed any money.

The Workers Owed Wages search tool allows a previous or current employee to enter information to find out if the money is currently being held.

“The hope is that we reach any employee that might believe they are owed back wages or overtime from current employees within the past three years,” Scott said. “All the employers have paid the back wages to the Labor Department, our goal is to try and get the workers the back wages that were rightfully earned.”

The list is continuously being updated.