Selected Wage Investigation Procedures (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
February 16, 2024
Labor, Department of


To determine the implementation status of the four recommendations included in our initial audit report, Selected Wage Investigation Procedures (2019-S-46).

About the Program

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Division of Labor Standards (Division) seeks to vigorously enforce State Labor Laws (Laws), such as those that cover minimum wage and overtime, illegal deductions, day-of-rest and meal period requirements, and child labor. Division investigators from 12 District Offices examine both alleged complaints and any other labor violations that arise during the course of an investigation.

DOL can require employers found to be in violation of the Laws to pay restitution of wages and can also assess penalties (which are retained by DOL), liquidated damages, which are additional amounts assessed in an effort to compensate workers for the delay in receiving wages owed and which may serve as a deterrent to future violations, and interest. Investigators’ efforts are critical in promoting compliance and in recovering amounts for aggrieved workers. DOL reported collecting $21 million, $18 million, and $21 million in penalties, wages, and interest as a result of its wage investigations during calendar years 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively.

The objective of our initial audit, issued on March 3, 2021, was to determine if DOL was following its wage investigation procedures, including conducting outreach to claimants about case status and recovered wages. During that audit, we found that, for 69 of the 150 cases in our sample (46%), investigators did not make first contact with the employer within 60 days of the case being created in DOL’s WPM system (i.e., docketing), as recommended in DOL procedures. The 69 cases included 13 cases for which more than 360 days passed before first contact occurred. We also identified 24 cases with no documented investigative activities in WPM for significant periods of time. Notably, we were also unable to determine whether claimants associated with nine of 56 cases that were indicated as closed and paid in WPM had received their recovered wages. Finally, we found that, for 23 of 150 investigations we reviewed, there was no final report in WPM, although it was required. Our audit report included four recommendations to the Department to address these issues.

Key Finding

DOL has made progress in addressing the issues we identified in the initial audit report and has implemented the four recommendations included in the report.

Heather Pratt

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Manager
: Heather Pratt
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236