The total amount of unpaid wages that Efling has demanded from employers has amounted to 345 million ISK last year, RÚV reports.
Wage theft is becoming a huge problem in Iceland, with more and more workers turning to trades unions to demand unpaid wages. In the last 5 years the number of claims received by Efling’s Wages Division has increased from 200 to 700 every year. The claims over this period have amounted to a total of around a billion ISK, with each claim amounting to between 400,000 and 500,000 ISK.
In an official announcement, Efling stated that neither wage theft nor other violations against the “minimum wage of workers” are punishable in Iceland. “Efling requested that sanctions of this kind be included in its wage agreement with the Confederation of Icelandic Employers in the winter of 2018 to 2019. Subsequently, the government promised that such sanctions would be included in Icelandic legislation. However, there are no signs of progress, despite repeated warnings to that effect.”
According to Efling, very few people end up not getting their salaries paid, but everyone has to go through a process of submitting evidence to prove their case that both a violation has been committed and that they have suffered damages as a result. It is not until a judgement is passed in the employee’s favour that penalty interest is calculated, but no compensation is added to the claims that are paid. Efling is demanding that a law is passed that guarantees a fine or punishment for not paying wages and salaries upfront.
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