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Wage and hour settlements up last year

Increase can be attributed in part to large settlement Novartis entered into with employees

Employers, take note! According to a recent report by National Economic Research Associates (NERA), companies paid out more in wage and hour settlements in 2012 than in 2011—to the tune of $467 million, an 18 percent increase. The $467 million total is only slightly higher than the five-year average of $455 million.

The report indicated that the main reason for the rise in 2012 was a wage and hour settlement Novartis Pharmaceuticals reached with 7,000 of its workers.

According to NERA, wage and hour cases are those involving workers’ complaints over unpaid work, overtime pay, failure to provide meals or rest beaks, and work done outside of work hours.

“On average, companies paid $4.8 million to resolve a case in 2012, up slightly from the $4.6 million observed in 2011, but lower than the overall average of $7.5 million for the 2007 to 2012 period,” NERA said in a release about the study.

The study also said that the retail sector has made up 31 percent of wage and hour settlement amounts since 2007. Between 2007 and 2011, the health care services sector made up only 4 percent, but due to the Novartis settlement, that figure jumped to 27 percent of the total settlement amount for 2012.

For more about this study, see Thomson Reuters.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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