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July 07, 2016

Philly's new wage theft ordinance is now in effect

You can file complaints through city if employer doesn't pay out

A new city ordinance gives employees working in the city of Philadelphia a tool to reclaim wages stolen by an employer.

The ordinance, signed into law by then-Mayor Michael Nutter in December 2015, went into effect on July 1.

The legislation was introduced by Councilman Bill Greenlee in an effort to curb the illegal practice in Philadelphia, where workers of color and those in the service industry are disproportionally affected, Al Dia News reported last year.

Related: Wage theft hits those who can least afford it

According to data, up to $32 million in wages is withheld from workers statewide every week, and about 93,000 instances of wage theft occur in that same time period in the Philadelphia metro area, according to the news outlet.

Under the new law, wage theft complaints can be filed with the city for amounts between $100 and $10,000, and accompanying facts and documents that support the accusation must be provided.

Employers accused of theft must be notified by the worker filing the complaint, and have 30 days to provide a response with all available records concerning hours worked and potentially lawful deductions taken.

Questions and official complaints can be submitted via email to, and more information on the new law can be found here and here.