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SALT LAKE CITY -- In the fiscal year of 2008, Utah received 1,938 wage claims and thought that was a lot. In the 2009 fiscal year, the state got 2,714 claims.
"[It's] a 42 percent increase," said Utah wage claim manager Brent Asay.
He says his office was so busy with claims he had to hire another employee to deal with them all. Many small businesses either had rough economic times or they went under, and many of them missed some payroll payments.
"That probably is the biggest reason why we saw such a jump," Asay said.
When a claim comes in, Asay says the person making the claim doesn't have to prove they've been shorted.
"The burden is put on the employer to keep a complete and accurate record of wages earned during the pay period and wages paid during the pay period," he explained.
Employers are required to keep these files for a year.
"Short of bankruptcy, even though they say, ‘We don't have money. We're insolvent. We can't pay these claims,'" we still carry out our process," Asay said.
He says some of the claims his office sees are against companies who are just not paying their employees even if they can, but that's a small percentage of overall claims.
The Wage Claim Unit can only accept claims in cases between an employer and employee. They can't take claims from independent contractors.