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US Department of Labor finds Honolulu contractor failed to pay correct wages, fringe benefits to 46 employees on federally funded projects

HONOLULU – A U.S. Department of Labor investigation has recovered $156,837 in back wages from a Honolulu contractor who paid 46 workers lower wages than the law allows for the type of work they performed under federal contracts awarded by U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, Army and Coast Guard in Hawaii.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Tunista Services LLC failed to pay truck drivers, material handling laborers, warehouse specialists, forklift operators, service order dispatchers, janitors and other workers the correct wage rates set by federal law for their services. Instead, the employer paid several workers lower hourly rates than required for their occupations, in violation of the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act.

Tunista Services also violated the provisions in the act – which governs employee pay standards for contractors and subcontractors on federally funded contracts – when they failed to provide the required health benefits, sick leave pay, holiday pay and vacation pay.

In addition, the employer violated the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, which requires overtime pay for hours over 40 in a workweek. The employer based its overtime calculations on the lower, incorrect wage rate and failed to pay the full overtime due.

The $156,837 recovery includes $84,995 for paying incorrect occupational wages, $56,596 for underpayment of fringe benefits, $14,791 reimbursement for unpaid sick leave and $455 in overtime pay for the affected workers.

“Federal contractors who fail to pay correct wages and fringe benefits shortchange workers, reduce their labor costs illegally and gain unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Terence Trotter in Honolulu. “We strongly encourage all federal contractors to review their own pay practices and ensure they comply with the law.”

Learn more about the division, including its search tool to learn if you are owed back wages collected by the division. For confidential compliance assistance about the Service Contract Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free.