SEATTLE (AP) — As Seattle’s new minimum wage law takes effect this month, the city’s police department and the U.S. Department of Labor are announcing that they’ve teamed up to fight wage theft.

In 2011 Seattle’s City Council made wage theft — the intentional withholding of pay — a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. But officials say few workers have made complaints under the law.

In December the Seattle Police Department and the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division entered into a formal agreement to coordinate enforcement activities and help each other with enforcement of wage laws. They also plan to cooperate when it comes to sharing training materials and providing workers and employers with information about complying with wage laws.

Seattle’s law will boost the city’s minimum wage to $15. The first increase took effect Wednesday, raising the minimum pay for most workers to $11.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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