FAQ: DPSCS vs. DOL Wage Theft Settlement

January 26, 2024 Update:
Since the initial settlement, we have pressured DPSCS and the federal Department of Labor (USDOL) to review timekeeping records for additional employees and to re-examine the records for those who have already received settlements. Their new audit has turned up thousands of employees who are owed a settlement who did not receive one this past summer, as well as thousands of employees who are owed an additional settlement amount on top of the settlement they received this summer, confirming our belief that the initial settlement was not sufficient.

An email was sent to everyone affected. If you did not receive this email, please email us to let us know at [email protected].

November 17, 2023 Update:
We are aware that there are a number of employees who have not received a check from the federal Department of Labor (DOL). The federal DOL, the Maryland Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and DPSCS have all confirmed that they are continuing to audit employee files, and more settlement checks are coming.

We have signed an abeyance agreement with DBM. To summarize:

  • The state is continuing to investigate and audit both employees who were not yet included in the settlement and also re-auditing and continuing to investigate employees even if they have already been sent notice of some amount of settlement because more back pay may be necessary.
  • As a member, your right to file a grievance regarding this money is protected until 45 days after the end of this investigation, whether you were included in the original settlement or not.

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What is the DPSCS vs. DOL settlement?
The state illegally changed the time records for hourly employees in DPSCS without their knowledge or permission. Because it was different per day over multiple years, it was hard to grieve because members didn’t track exactly how much was taken each day. As a result, AFSCME filed complaints to the FEDERAL Dept. of Labor to do a wage and hour investigation. This is the partial settlement to that investigation. On July 5, 2023, the Board of Public Works approved $13 million to go towards phase 1 of the settlement. The Governor and DPSCS have committed to continuing to investigate the wage theft that occurred until everyone is made whole. For more information on who is covered under phase 1 of the settlement, please see the letter DPSCS Secretary Scruggs wrote to BPW members here.

Who did we file complaints for?
We filed complaints for all DPSCS employees who are hourly and use Time Clock Plus.

What is the payment based on?
Because we proved that this was a coordinated statewide effort (not individual timekeepers making individual decisions), they were able to go back the maximum amount (3 years, fall of 2018 until August of 2021). This payment is the result of settlement negotiations between the Federal DOL and DPSCS for employees who worked October of 2018 until August of 2021.

If someone disagrees with the accuracy of the amount, what recourse do they have?
The Federal DOL has determined the amount and demanded the state pay it. If someone disagrees with the amount, the Governor’s office has agreed that all DPSCS employees may inspect their records that show what Time Clock Plus recorded and what the department paid folks for. Employees may check their records to determine accuracy. Here are instructions from DPSCS about how to do this. If there is a dispute an employee can contact John Flynn at DPSCS HR at [email protected].

Are there other benefits to employees from the investigation?
Yes. In addition, the Federal DOL is making the state begin accurately recording the number of hours worked and hourly wage on paychecks. Since August of 2021 the department has ordered all timekeepers to “stop rounding time” of employees so that people are paid properly. We are also working with DBM to get more accurate payroll records in the Workday system so that it is clear what our members are being paid and why. Lastly, elected leaders of our union are meeting with the department to ensure we have a fairer and proper process to enter and exit facilities in order to prevent this wage theft from happening in the future.

How do those affected claim their money?
Please visit https://webapps.dol.gov/WOW/ and search “MD Dept” to find your employer. Follow the instructions to find your settlement amount.

All employees should make sure their address is updated with HR as soon as possible.

How do I get involved with my union AFSCME to help us get what we deserve?
If you are not an AFSCME member, join here. Stewards are trying to attend Rolls Calls in July to make sure employees have these updates. Members are encouraged to come to the next local membership meeting. If there is no steward at your institution or shift, please email [email protected] to find out when the next steward training is so we can ensure your shift gets updates on this as we get them from the DOL and State.

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