For Immediate Release - January 07, 2013

AG Coakley to Fine National Grid $270,000 for Failing to Timely Pay Workers for Work Performed During and Since Superstorm Sandy

Hundreds of Workers Still Left Uncompensated for Work; National Grid May Be Fined For Each Additional Week That Workers Remain Without Pay

BOSTON – With hundreds of Massachusetts workers still unpaid after more than nine weeks, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office has fined National Grid $270,000 for various violations of the state’s wage and hour laws.

National Grid had previously set a self-imposed target date of December 14 to correct the pay issues.  After that date had passed, AG Coakley sent a letter calling for the energy company to rectify all wage issues no later than December 21 or face penalties.

“These workers provided a vital service during a storm that knocked out power for thousands of families across the eastern seaboard, including here in Massachusetts,” AG Coakley said. “The continued delays in paying workers their hard earned wages is unacceptable and National Grid should do whatever it can to resolve this matter immediately.”

In November 2012, National Grid's new pay system encountered technical difficulties that resulted in a host of pay related issues, largely in connection with compensation for work performed during Hurricane Sandy.  Thousands of problems were identified company-wide including the failure to pay wages in a timely manner to nearly 2,000 Massachusetts workers who worked to ensure that residents of Massachusetts and neighboring states had their power restored.

Many workers have suffered financial stress and hardship from not getting paid on time, sometimes for weeks. For example, multiple employees who had financial payments directly debited from their pay - including payments for child support, alimony or college tuition - received warning letters for failure to meet those obligations because of National Grid’s payroll problems. Working with the Attorney General’s Office, National Grid has prioritized many hardship cases that were brought to its attention over the past nine weeks.

After nine weeks, hundreds of Massachusetts workers continue to suffer pay-related problems constituting violations of Massachusetts wage and hour laws, including untimely payment of wages, inaccurate payroll records, and failure to pay earned overtime. The AG’s Office reserves its right to issue further penalties in the future, should National Grid fail to fully rectify these violations in a timely manner.

Under Massachusetts law, wages must be paid no later than six days from the end of the pay period during which the wages were earned. The Attorney General has the authority to issue fines for failure to comply with the statute.

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