Labor Policy Enforcement

The Problem

  • In order to address Philadelphia’s 26% poverty rate, labor rights organizations have successfully organized for and passed ordinances to combat workplace exploitation, which primarily impacts people of color and immigrants. Increased protections for low-wage workers are critical to lifting families out of poverty.
  • Despite these hard-fought victories for low-wage workers, the City has failed to invest the resources, strategy, and community education needed to ensure that the laws are enforced, resulting in ongoing and widespread violations.
  • Current pro-worker legislation includes the Wage Theft, Paid Sick Leave, Credit Card Tip Protection, and Ban the Box Ordinances. Without vigorous enforcement of employers who violate the ordinances, and without adequate community outreach so workers fully know their rights, we can also anticipate that the Fair Work Week Ordinance (slated to go into effect in January 2020) as well as future legislation (such as a Philadelphia Domestic Worker Bill of Rights) will not be appropriately enforced.

Our Solutions

  • Increase dedicated staff in a fully funded City Enforcement Office to ensure that all violations of worker ordinances are swiftly investigated and remedied, and to work with labor rights organizations to review and oversee policy enforcement.
  • Create a Labor Standards Advisory Commission that includes workers to review the work of the Enforcement Office, advise the Council on design and funding of enforcement activities, ensure that workers have an ongoing voice in policy enforcement, make recommendations for improving existing policies, and play an active role in shaping future policy.
  • Dedicated funding for Community-Based Enforcement, a proven strategy that enlists community organizations to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach to educate residents about their rights under city policies and support the agency in identifying noncompliance.

City Council Actions

  • Dedicate increased funding to the City Enforcement Office.
  • Ensure that all future pro-worker ordinances have mechanisms and the needed funding to be appropriately enforced.
  • Support the creation of a Labor Standards Advisory Commission that includes workers and has the ability to amend and improve existing ordinances.

Download Labor Policy Enforcement Brief

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