LANSING — House and Senate Democrats unveiled a plan today to crack down on companies committing payroll fraud, increasing penalties for bad actors while strengthening oversight to protect businesses playing by the rules. Unscrupulous companies stole an estimated $429 million in wages and overtime pay from hardworking Michiganders between 2013 and 2015, impacting more than 2.8 million people. In addition to the impact on individual workers, payroll fraud costs Michigan taxpayers $107 million a year in tax revenue. In response, state Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights), whose House Bill 4872 would create the State Employees Ombudsman Act, issued the following statement:

“We need to cultivate an environment where employees feel comfortable coming forward to report any employer misconduct — especially when they’re state employees operating within the public trust. The integrity of our state institutions is dependent on people having the freedom to have those honest conversations, and creating a State Employee Ombudsman ensures there is an objective authority to have them with.”