What would you do if your employer didn’t pay you? Or if your paycheck bounced? That’s exactly what some employees said happened to them and the state labor department is now investigating the complaint.
Jerae Kupukaa and Nancy Vilayvong both work at Agu Ramen & Bistro in Kapolei. They said they just want to be paid what they are owed. And added that this isn’t the first time there have been problems with the company getting paychecks out on time.
Kupukaa said she’s still waiting for her paycheck from May 24th. And she’s not alone.
“About 10 of us it impacted. None of us went to work. Except our manager was trying to stay open just for the sake of the company. All in all, I don’t think we should work if we’re not getting paid….I have a child to take care of. I have bills to take care. We’re all in debt. We all got bills to pay and things to do. So it sucks it really sucks,” Kupukaa said.
Vilayvong said that some employees already had problems with checks issued the first payday in May.
“Whoever deposited the check to their banks, it bounced. But if you cashed it when you got it that day at their bank, the bank that issued the check, it didn’t bounce,” Vilayvong explained.
Luckily she said she cashed her check as soon as she got it because they had a similar problem three months ago.
Vilayvong said her manager blamed the issues on the payroll company, but she’s not convinced.
“The second time this happened I was like OK, it can’t be the same mistake twice.”
In an email, Hisashi Teddy Uyehara, who is listed as an agent for Agu Ramen LLC in Hawaii, said: “We are in the process of correcting our new payroll service and those outstanding checks will be immediately covered. This is an administrative matter that they have corrected.”
It doesn’t change the fact that workers still haven’t been paid almost a week after their scheduled pay day.
Labor attorney David Simons said that’s a problem for the employer.
“You have to have paydays at least twice a month. Then you have to pay an employee within seven days of the end of the pay period,” Simons explained.
If not, employees can file a complaint with the department of labor. If the investigation shows they did not pay their workers on time, there are consequences.
“(The department of labor) will seek to get a penalty of double the amount that wasn’t paid on time, plus an extra penalty of up to $500 for their administrative charge and interest.”
That means if a worker was supposed to be paid $1000 on their check, their employer would have to pay them $2000 in addition to a fine to the department of labor.
Simons said that it can take weeks or even months for the employee to be paid.