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ISADOR LUBIN, Commissioner

M _ CAQ .
BUREAU OF LABOR STA TISTICS J • • • • fl|0e 01 f O


To be used at
DECEMBER 13,1933

/ v \

M B iif


\ m J

Prepared by the Labor Law Information Service
Charles F. Sharkey, Chief, George D. Patterson, Assistant


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C.



Price 10 cents


Administration and enforcement of labor laws________________________
Arbitration and conciliation___________________ ____________________
Employment agencies—public and private___________________________
Industrial health_________________________________________________
Labor laws and regulations affecting women_________________________
Legal restrictions on the hours of labor of men_______________________
Legal restrictions on the employment of minors______________________
Minimum wage legislation_________________________________________
Old-age pensions____ _____________________________________________
Rehabilitation of the handicapped__________________________________
Unemployment insurance__________________________________________
Wage claim collection________________________ ____________________
Workmen’s compensation and occupational diseases__________________





N 603


December 1933


At the 1931 conference of governors held in Albany to discuss un­
employment, certain governors of the East Central States decided to
call a conference of representatives of the State labor departments
to discuss the legislation of each State in an effort to secure more
uniformity in State labor laws and thereby put the States on an
equal basis.
At the invitation of Gov. Gifford Pinchot, of Pennsylvania, the
meeting was held in Harrisburg, Pa., on June 18 and 19, 1931, and
representatives from the Federal Department of Labor and the labor
departments or bureaus of the following States were present: Con­
necticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New
York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Certain
definite recommendations were made in regard to State labor laws.1
In 1933 at the call of the Governor of Massachusetts an interstate
conference on labor laws was held in Boston, Mass. Delegates from
nine East Central States and the Federal Department of Labor attended
this meeting and considered three subjects: A Nation-wide minimum
wage law for women and minors, the establishment of public-employment offices throughout the country, and the limitation of the hours of
labor for women and minors. A committee made special recommen­
dations on these subjects.2
The adoption of codes under the National Recovery Act has to a
very large degree made labor regulations uniform among certain
groups of States. This act, however, was enacted as an emergency
measure and its duration is limited by the terms of the act to a period
of 2 years.
Some permanent action is necessary by the States to make the
State laws more uniform, and in view of this fact some of the States
are organizing interstate commissions to draw up compacts and
agreements to aid in establishing uniform labor laws.
To assist in the discussion and ready comparison of the State labor
laws at the 1931 Conference on Labor Legislation, a comparative
digest of the labor legislation enacted by the States participating in
the conference was prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the
Federal Department of Labor. A similar digest of the Jabor laws for
the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Ten­
nessee has been prepared by the Labor Law Information Service of the
1See Monthly Labor Review, August 1931 (p. 42).
* Item, March 1933 (p. 537).




United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide a basis for dis­
cussion and for use as a means of ready comparison of the laws at the
Georgia Conference on Labor Legislation to be held in Atlanta.
Due to the comparatively recent industrial development of the five
States in question there is a lack of labor legislation. It is the purpose
of this publication to present in a concise manner the labor legisla­
tion enacted by these States, so that some comparison may be made
between these States and between the activities of other State labor
Many States have enacted anti-injunction laws, similar to the
Federal anti-injunction statute, limiting the jurisdiction of the courts
in labor disputes; some 15 States have also enacted laws declaring
antiunion contracts unenforceable as being contrary to the public
policy of the State. These laws have not been summarized in this
compilation as it is impossible to cover the entire field of labor legis­
lation, and none of the States meeting in conference have enacted
laws on either of these subjects. This is also true of the laws provid­
ing for the payment of a prevailing-wage rate on public works. While
the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Ten­
nessee have not enacted old-age pension laws, the laws of other States
on this subject are covered, and also the minimum-wage laws of other
States, as such laws have become increasingly important during the
period of economic depression.
As some of the 1933 session laws are not available at this time, the
material does not cover all legislative action taken by State legis­
latures during the current year.

Administration and Enforcement of Labor Laws

The five States covered by this study were, m the early history of
our country, primarily agricultural States, and it is only within recent
years that great industrialization has taken place. It is therefore
natural that the organization of State labor departments has not
taken place as rapidly as in some of the leading industrial States, and
the administration of labor laws has been handicapped through a lack
of funds.
In considering the question of administration and enforcement of
labor laws the following outline has been made to give a clear picture
of the executive agencies in each State charged with the administra­
tion and enforcement of the laws cited elsewhere in the digest.
The State of Alabama has no department or bureau of labor among
the State executive offices. Certain functions of such a department
are carried on by other agencies in the State government. The child
welfare department is charged with the duty of enforcing the laws as
to the employment of children, with full power of visitation and
inspection. There is a chief mine inspector who, with the assistant
inspectors, is charged with the inspection of all coal mines and places
of employment therein with special reference to works and machinery,
ventilation, drainage, general safety, etc.
The Alabama workmen's compensation law is administered by the
courts of the State. Although there is a division of workmen’s com­
pensation in the department of insurance, such division acts only in a
supervisory capacity.
The State labor inspector administers the labor laws of the State of
Florida in regard to the employment of children. Florida has no
workmen’s compensation law, and therefore no work of this nature is
handled by the labor inspector.
In 1931 the Georgia law was amended and the State departments
reorganized. A department of industrial relations was created under
the control and management of 3 directors, 1 of whom, the
commissioner of commerce and labor, whose office was specifically
retained, is chairman. The powers, duties, and functions of the
former department of commerce and labor were transferred to the
department of industrial relations. The law prescribes that the
department of industrial relations “shall collect and collate informa­
tion and statistics concerning labor and its relation to capital, showing
labor conditions throughout the State; the hours of labor; the earnings
of laborers; and their educational, moral, and financial condition, and



the best means of promoting their mental, moral, and material wel­
fare; shall investigate the cause and extent of labor shortage and the
migration of labor; shall also collect and collate information and sta­
tistics concerning the location, capacity of mills, factories, workshops,
and other industries, and actual output of manufactured products,
and also the character and amount of labor employed, the kind and
quantity of raw material annually used by them, and the capital
invested therein; and such other information and statistics concerning
the natural resources of the State and the industrial welfare of the
citizens as may be deemed necessary and of interest and benefit to the
public, and by the dissemination of such data to advertise the various
industrial and natural resources of Georgia in order to attract desirable
settlers and to bring capital into the State/’
Public employment offices are to be operated under the supervision
of this department, and the law regulating private employment
agencies is administered by the Department of Industrial Relations.
The department is also authorized to “make investigation concern­
ing the operation of the various laws relating to the safety of the life
and limb of employees, especially those concerning the employment
of child labor, and of women, and he shall take legal steps looking
to the proper enforcement and due observance of such laws.”
The office of factory inspector created in 1916 has been abolished
as well as the Industrial Commission created in 1920 to administer the
workmen’s compensation law, and this law is now administered by
the Department of Industrial Relations.
A public free employment agency is operated in cooperation with
the Federal Government.
South Carolina
The Department of Commerce, Agriculture, and Industries per­
forms the functions of a labor department in the State of South
Carolina. The commissioner of the department is authorized to
collect statistical data relating to—

All departments of labor in this State, such as the hours of labor, cost of living,
supply of labor required, estimated number of persons depending on daily labor
for their support. .Said statistics may be classified as follows:
1. Agriculture.
2. In manufacturing and mechanical industries.
3. In transportation.
4. In clerical and all other skilled and unskilled labor not above enumerated.
5. The amount of capital invested in lands, buildings, machinery, material,
and means of production and distribution generally.
6. The number, age, sex, and condition of persons employed; the nature of
their employment; the number of hours of labor per day, and the wages received
in each of the industries and employments enumerated.
7. The sanitary conditions of factories, foundries, machine shops, mercantile
establishments, where five or more people are employed as laborers.
8. The number, condition, and nature of employment of the inmates of the
State prison, county jails, and reformatory institutions, and to what extent their
employment comes in competition with the labor of artisans and laborers outside
of these institutions.
9. All such other information in relation to labor as may seem advisable to
further the object sought to be obtained by this article.

Inspectors may be appointed by the commissioners to assist in
gathering this information. They may visit and inspect factories,
workshops, and other establishments within the State.



The powers of the Tennessee Department of Labor, as prescribed
in the law, are:

1. To exercise all the rights, powers,' and duties vested by law in the chief
mine inspector, the mining statistician, the district mine inspectors, and their
assistants and employees.
2. To exercise all the rights, powers, and duties vested by law in the workshop
and factory inspector, his deputies, assistants, and employees.
3. To supervise the administration of the workmen’s compensation law.
4. To inspect hotels now under the supervision of the food and drug inspector.
5. To collect information on the subject of labor, its relation to capital, the
hours of labor, and the earnings of laboring men and women, and the means of
promoting their material, social, intellectual, and moral prosperity.
6. To visit and inspect during reasonable hours all shops, factories, and mer­
cantile establishments and other places where workmen are employed as often
as necessary, and to cause the provisions of law to be enforced therein.
7. To inspect the sanitary conditions, system of sewerage, system of heating,
lighting, and ventilating of "rooms where persons are employed at labor, and the
means of exit in case of fire or other disaster within or connected with shops and
8. To examine the machinery in and about workshops and factories to see
that it is not located so as to be dangerous to employees when engaged in their
ordinary duties.
9. To ueelare and prescribe what safety devices, safeguards, or other means of
protection are well adapted to render employees or places of employment safe.
10. To order such reasonable changes in the construction, maintenance, and
repair of places of employment as shall render them safe.
11. To require the performance of any act necessary for the protection of life,
health, and safety of employees.
12. To collect and compile reliable data, which, if disseminated, would tend
to the development of the State by inducing population and capital to come within
its borders.

The Department of Labor is organized into five divisions, namely;
the Division of Mines, under the chief mine inspector; the Division
of Hotel Inspection, in charge of a chief inspector; the Division of
Factory Inspection, the head of which is the chief factory inspector;
the Division of Fire Prevention, headed by the State fire marshal;
the Division of Workmen's Compensation, under the supervision of
the superintendent of workmen’s compensation. The law provides
that the Commissioner of Labor may act as head of the Division of
Fire Prevention, Division of Factory Inspection, or the Division of
Mines, provided he is thoroughly familiar with the theory and practice
of coal mining and not identified with either coal operators or coal

Arbitration and Conciliation

The settlement of labor disputes by arbitration and mediation has
proven successful in many of the States. An enlightened investiga­
tion to ascertain the facts as to the cause of the dispute usually leads
to a better understanding and to an amicable adjustment of the
difficulties. The table below gives a picture of the arbitration and
conciliation facilities provided for by law in three of the five States
meeting in conference. Florida and Tennessee have no such law.

T a b l e 1 . — Provisions
Administrative agency

of State legislation as to arbitration and conciliation



Preliminary offer of services




Alabama. (Code* 1923, State Board of Mediation Qovemor notifies board of Board must Tender decision Grievances may be submit­ Chairman of board shall
secs. 7602-7612.)
and Arbitration consisting strike or lockout; it pro­ within 10 days after com­ ted to local '
make a report to State leg­
of 3 persons appointed by ceeds to place of disturb­ pletion of investigation.
islature of each arbitration
Governor for term of 2 ance and endeavors by I
by labor, one selected by effected or investigated and
mediation to effect amica­
employer, and a third se­ results.
ble adjustment of diffi­
lected by first 2 members.
culty. Employer or em­
ployee may also submit
Georgia. (Acts of 1911, p. Chairman of Department of Law merely provides that Chairman may offer his
Annual report by chairman
133, sec. 5, as amended Industrial Relations.
chairman may inquire into good offices to contending
to Governor to contain in­
by acts of 1931 (No. 298),
cause of strikes and lock­ parties with a view to
formation deemed expedi­
P. 7.)
outs and other disagree­ bringing about friendly
ent and proper.
ments between employer and satisfactory adlustand employed.
ments thereof.
South Carolina. (Code, State Board of Conciliation Board to investigate cause of
Report of finding of fact to be
1932, secs. 6363-6362.)
composed of 3 members industrial disputes; to re­
made as soon as possible to
appointed by Qovemor mow differences or misun­
Governor and annually to
for term of 6 years.
derstanding and endeavor
the State legislature. No
to effect agreement; to act
report need be made if
as arbitrators when re­
majority deem it inadvis­
quested by both sides of a
controversy and attempt
to induce amicable settle­

Employment Agencies—Public and Private

Two tables have been prepared to present the outstanding features
of the State laws regarding employment agencies, both public and
private. The laws have not been reproduced in this digest. For
latest information on this subject, as well as for a complete text of
the State and Federal laws, see Bureau of Labor Statistics Bulletin
No. 581, entitled “Laws Relating to Employment Agencies in the
United States.” None of the five Southern States meeting in con­
ference have taken legislative action accepting the provisions of the
new Federal act creating a national system of employment agencies.
However, two of the States (Georgia and Tennessee) have accepted
by a proclamation of the Governors.
T able

2.— Provisions as to State legislation as to employment agencies

Cooperation with
Federal or other Locality
public bureaus



•Supervision for vio­


A labam a_____
Georgia............... Free employment No provi­ P r o h i b ­ D irector of None Acts of 1911, p.
bureau in Depart­ sion.
133 (as aited.
mended 1913,
of Industrial
ment of Industrial
p. 82; 1917,
Re lation s
Relations to coop­
p. 88; 1920,
and Federal
erate with Federal
p. 118).
Em ploym ent
South Carolina.

License fee


Records Reports Bonds Regulations Penalty for
concerning violations
kept made

___ Annual $10 tax
paid by owner
or manager in
certain cities.
__ Annual $50 tax in Y es... Yes
each county in
which agency


South Carolina.
Tennessee.......... Annual fee of $50 Y es... Yes
in cities of 25,000,
$25 in cities be­
tween 5,000 and
25,000, and $10
in cities haying
less than 5,000



.. $1,000 Fee to be Provision
returned therefor.
in cert a i n

Comp. Gen.
Laws 1927,
sec. 1146.
Acts of 1911,
p. 133 (as
1913, p. 82,
1917, p, 88;
1920, p. 118).
Code 1932, secs.

1 In 1933 the State legislature authorized the county commissioners of each county having a population
of 155,000 inhabitants to appropriate and spend out of the general fund of the county not more than $200
per month for the purpose of operating a free county employment agency for the indigent poof of the county.
The act expires Jan. 1,1934.


Industrial Health and Safety Laws
Practically all the States have enacted some laws to protect the
health and safety of the worker. These laws usually follow about
the same outline and cover the same subject matter. Wash rooms,
seating facilities where women are employed, proper ventilation,
lighting, etc., as well as the general laws requiring safety equipment
for use by workers engaged in hazardous employments, are subjects
usually covered by such laws. The table below gives a summary of
the laws enacted to protect the safety and health of the workers in
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The available records indicate that these States have no laws
requiring rest rooms in industrial establishments or periodic examina­
tions of workers engaged in hazardous processes, nor is the employer
required to furnish an adequate supply of drinking water for the
employees. The material in the table is based upon industrial
safety and health laws, and does not include safety laws enacted for
the protection of employees engaged in construction work or other
out-door employments.

T able 3.— Provisions of State legislation as to industrial health and safety1
South Carolina..

Wash and dressing rooms

Seating facilities

Report to be made re ventilation Regulations where minors or
Seats to be provided for females.
in coal mines; sprinkling of dust women are employed.
Regulations where minors under Suitable washrooms to be sup­ Seats to be provided for girls under
16 are employed.
plied where minors under 16 are 16 years of age.
Seats to be provided for female em­
Sufficient and separate water
closets required.
250 cu.ft. air space per person, 6 ....... do................................................ Bathhouses to be maintained in
a.m. to 6p.m.; 400cu.ft., 6 p.m.
connection with mine.
to 6 a.m. Provision for fans to
carry off dust.

Alabama..................... ........

Employees to report unsafe Included in safety code for
Dust to be sprinkled in coal
conditions; safety code coal mines.
provided for coal mines.
Florida................................. Hotel employees to be ex­ Walls and ceiling to be limeRegulations in form of safety
amined before employ­ washed or painted where
applicances to protect
minors are employed.
Factory inspection_______
Fire escapes required on
South Carolina....................
Factory inspection; sewer­
age system in mill villages
Workshops must be clean First-aid equipment and Safety code in mining; fac­
and sanitary; health regu­ rescue stations to be main­ tory inspection.
lations; fire escapes pre­ tained in mines.
1 Does not include rules and regulations of State departments of labor or board of health.


Physical examination on em­ Cleaning and physical upkeep First-aid care and instruc­ General health considerations Equipment for prevention of
of place of employment
occupational diseases



Toilet facilities



Ventilation, temperature, humid­
ity, lighting, air space

Labor Laws and Regulations Affecting Women

Working Hours of Women
The information contained in the following discussion of State
laws affecting the employment of women is taken from articles pub­
lished in the Monthly Labor Review and from Bulletin No. 98 of
the United States Women’s Bureau entitled “Labor Laws for Women
in the States and Territories.”
The following table shows detail information in regard to the types
of labor laws enacted by the various States for the protection of
women employees.
4*— Labor laws for women, by State or Territory, as of July 19SS

a li
State or Territory
o 2,
8 8* 9 10 10i 10* 11 124849* 5052 54 55 56 5758 60 & a l
O S £
Arizona_______ if
if if
if if
Weekly hour limits


Daily hour limits








% •208.2
«2 si
i ° 5



| Seats

T able




if ★
if if

Idaho _________
if if if if
Illinois___ ____^
if if if
Iowa - ______ if if
if if
if if
if if
Maine ______
if if if if
if if if if
if if if
if if
if if if
Montana_______ if
Nebraska______ if
N evada____ __
if i
New Hampshire.
if if if if
New Jersey_____
if ★
New Mexico____ if if
:: : : : ★ ★
New York............ ★
★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ” - ★ if
North Carolina.. ★- ★ ★
if if
if if
if ~
North Dakota
if if if if
if if
if if
if if if
if if
if if
if if
if if £
Rhode Island
South Carolina
if if
South Dakota
Utah..................... *
* if if
if if
if if if
if if
Washington____ ★
West Virginia
if if if if if
if if
Wyoming............. ★
Number of
States___ 11 118 16 i 2 1 110 2 2 1 18 5 4 1 2 6 14 17 16 5 14 26 47 16
if if
Dist. of Columbia. if
P hilipp ine
if if
Puerto Rico......... ★ '
★ ★
1 Applies to all employees.
* The minimum-wage law in Minnesota has been held unconstitutional as applied to adult women.




Information is given in the table below on laws regulating hours
of labor for women in effect in Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
There is no legal regulation of women’s hours in Alabama 1or Florida.
T able 5.— Regulation of hours of labor of women by law or commission

Daily Week­




South Carolina.








Occupations or industries specified


Cotton and woolen manufacturing establishments.
Exceptions: Engineers, firemen, watchmen, me­
chanics, teamsters, yard employees, clerical
forces, cleaners, repairmen.

Code, 1911,
sec. 3137,
as amend­
ed by Acts
of 1911, p.
Cotton and woolen establishments manufacturing Code, 1932,
yarns, cloth, hosiery, and other merchandise. sec. 1466.
Exceptions: Mechanics, engineers, firemen,
watchmen, teamsters, yard employees, and cler­
ical force.
Mercantile establishments........................................ Idem, sec.
Workshop, factory (i.e., manufacturing, mills, Code, 1932,
mechanical, electrical, mercantile, art, and laun­ secs. 5322dering establishments, printing, telegraph and 5324.
telephone offices, department stores, or any kind
of establishment using labor or machinery).
Exceptions: Domestic service and agricultural

Laws Governing Nightwork for Women Workers
As shown in table 4, there are 16 States that prohibit nightwork
for women in certain industries or occupations. The laws of Indiana,
Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania cover only manufacturing, and
that of South Carolina (Code, 1932, sec. 1478) covers only mercantile
establishments. In both Ohio and Washington only one very small
group is covered—i.e., ticket sellers in Ohio and elevator operators
m Washington. In the remaining 10 States 2 or more industries or
occupations are included. Maryland and New Hampshire limit
the hours that a woman may work at night to 8, although on day
work Maryland allows women to work 10 hours and New Hamp­
shire 10% hours. The Puerto Rican law prohibits nightwork in any
lucrative occupations, with certain exceptions.
The most common period during which nightwork is prohibited
is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. A few of the States set only an evening
limit after which work is not permitted. The longest period of time
during which nightwork is prohibited is from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in
textile manufacturing in Massachusetts.2 Not only is nightwork
legislation found in a much smaller number of States than is legisla­
tion limiting the daily and weekly hours of work, but in many States
that have both types of legislation the nightwork laws cover a much
smaller group of industries or occupations.

1 In 1887 a law was passed by the Alabama legislature (Acts of 1886-87, ch. 49) that provided a daily
limit of 8 hours for women working in any mechanical or manufacturing business. In 1894 this law was
repealed and since that time there has been no legal regulation of women’s hours in Alabama. (See
U.S. Women’s Bureau Bui. no. 66, II, p. 2.)
2 During the recent session of the Massachusetts Legislature an act was passed (Acts of 1933 ch. 347)
authorising the Commissioner of Labor and Industries to suspend the operation of this law. This action
was taken in view of the codes adopted under the National Recovery Act, and to place Massachusetts
upon an equal footing with the other States operating under such codes.



Legislation prohibiting nightwork of women and children in order
to protect their health and safety has been held constitutional in a
number of cases. (See Muller v. Oregon (208 U.S. 412) and Radice
v. New York (264 U.S. 292) and cases cited therein.)
Laws Providing for a Day of Rest, One Shorter Workday, Time for
Meals, and Rest Periods
Twenty States, the District of Columbia, and the Territories of
Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands have regulated the hours
of working women by providing for breaks in their employment
periods. Except in the Philippines, these laws supplement legislation
on the length of the working day and week.
Some 14 States have limited the number of days that a woman
may work in succession—in the majority of cases to 6 days out of 7.
One or two States provide for a shorter workday in addition to the
day of rest. Some 12 or 13 States provide that a period of time,
varying from 30 minutes to 1 hour, must be allowed for meals, and
about the same number provide for either a period of time for a meal
or a rest period of some sort after a fixed number of hours.
A great many of the States that have laws limiting the total num­
ber of hours that a woman may work per day or per week have not
provided for any breaks in her employment. Only 21 States, the
District of Columbia, and the Territories of Puerto Rico and the
Philippine Islands have provided that women must have a day of
rest, or one shorter workday, or time for meals or rest periods.
In the States that have industrial commissions the orders for rest
periods, a day of rest, and time for meals generally have been issued
for specific industries or occupations and have considered the special
conditions that apply to each case. For example, Oregon considers
the work in the telephone industry in the large city of Portland as
distinct from that in the State at large, and provides for 1 day of rest
in 7 in Portland but only for 1 day of rest and 1 shorter day of 6 hours
in every 14 days for the State at large. In California, Oregon, and
Washington the industrial welfare commission orders provide the only
form of regulation covering rest periods, time for meals, or 1 day’s
rest in 7, although daily or weekly hours are fixed by acts of the
Prohibited and Regulated Employments for Women 4
As was indicated in table 4, a limited number of employments are
prohibited to women by legislation.
In 22 States and the District of Columbia there are no prohibitory
or regulatory laws regarding the employment of women in any specific
occupation. One prohibition or regulation only exists in each of
13 States; 2 exist in each of 6 States; 3 in each of 2 States; 4 in each of
2 States; and in 3 States, respectively, 6, 13, and 23 prohibitions or
regulations are in force.
4 In addition to the States, the Philippine Islands have legislation of this character. Act 3071, Session
Laws of 1923, prohibits the employment of women in mines or in any place where explosives are used or
manufactured, and requires employers to grant to women employed as laborers 30 days’ vacation with pay
before and 30 days after childbirth.



The occupation from which women are most commonly excluded
by law is mining, which is prohibited in 17 States, 7 of which have
established no other legal bars to women’s employment. Two
States only have long lists of occupations at which women are not
permitted to work and in most of which women in all other States
are legally free to engage. In all, 37 prohibitions or regulations have
been set up by law in 26 States, and of these, 23 are concentrated in
Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey—13 in Ohio only, 5 in Pennsyl­
vania only, 3 in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, and 2 in both New
Jersey and Pennsylvania. The remaining 14 prohibitions or regula­
tions are scattered over 25 States.
Some of the States have blanket laws declaring it unlawful to
employ women under conditions detrimental to their health or wel­
fare, but no employment is named in the acts and none is specified
by any authorized agencies. Many States have a prohibition or
regulation against the employment of women in mines. The State of
Alabama has such a prohibition (Code, 1923, sec. 1724). Other
industries and occupations in which the employment of women is
prohibited are occupations involving the lifting or carrying of heavy
articles, and work in corerooms in which the women would be called
upon to handle the cores in placing them in ovens or removing them.
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Vermont, and
Washington—six States in all—have legislation prohibiting the
employment of women immediately before and after childbirth. In
Massachusetts and Vermont the period during which women shall
not be required to work is 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after child­
birth; in Connecticut is 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after; in Missouri,
3 weeks before and 3 weeks after; in New York, 4 weeks after; and in
Washington, 4 months before and 6 weeks after.6

* The Philippine Islands also have legislation of this character. Act 3071, Session Laws of 1923, prohibits
the employment of women in mines or in any place where explosives are used or manufactured, and requires
employers to grant to women employed as laborers 30 days’ vacation with pay before and 30 days after child­

Legal Restrictions on Hours of Labor of Men

Legislation on hours of labor of men falls into several classifications:
1. Laws declaring the policy of the State as to the number of hours
that shall constitute a day’s work in the absence of contractual agree­
ment between the parties to the employment contract. As a rule,
no penalty is provided for. It is doubtful whether penalties, if any,
are enforced or damages collected for overtime work.
2. Laws fixing a maximum number of hours for men. These laws
are generally not limited to men, but include also women and minors
unless they are otherwise provided for by law. These laws usually
have penalty and enforcement provisions. They may be divided
into several groups:
(a) Legislation limiting the hours of labor of workmen employed
on public works.
(b) Legislation for the protection of the safety and health of the
general public, as, for instance, acts covering railroad and railway
operating employees (including bus, etc., drivers), seamen, and drug
(c) Legislation limiting the hours of labor of employees in obvi­
ously dangerous or unhealthful employments, as in mines, smelters,
tunnels, and in certain types of mills.
(d) Legislation limiting the hours of labor in employments less
obviously dangerous than in mines, smelters, etc., but in which in­
vestigation proves that there is direct correlation between the hours
worked and the safety and health of the employees and that the safety
and health hazard can be considerably reduced by a limitation in the
hours of labor worked.
3. Laws requiring rest periods or laws prohibiting the employ­
ment of men for more than a fixed number of hours within a given
period, such as legislation prohibiting the employment of railroad or
railway operating employees from working more than 10 hours
per day in 12 consecutive hours or 16 consecutive hours in 24, thus
insuring a proper interval for rest and making it certain that the
hour legislation cannot be violated in principle though technically
complied with.
Public Works
The State and the Federal Government may fix the hours of labor
of persons emplpyed by them. Early attempts to pass 8-hour laws
for public employees were looked upon as in the nature of a direction
from a principal to his agent that 8 hours be deemed to be a proper
length of time for a day's work, and that contracts should be based
upon that theory but that the law did not necessarily provide that
the employer and the laborer may not agree with each other as
to what time should constitute a day’s work independent of the
statute. This attitude was taken in the case United States v. Martin,
94 U.S. 400 (1876). This decision made it evident that, to be



effective, the statutes must be mandatory and provide penalties for
violations. Such statutes were passed and extended to include con­
tractors and subcontractors engaged in the construction of public
works for the State or one of its governmental subdivisions. The
constitutional power of the States to pass such statutes was immedi­
ately questioned in the courts. A test case arose in Kansas which
w^ent to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the statute
was upheld, in the year 1903, as a constitutional exercise of power.
The court rested its decision “upon the broad ground that the work
being of a public character, absolutely under the control of the State
and its municipal agents acting by its authority, it is for the State to
prescribe the conditions under which it will permit work of that kind
to be done.” {Atkin v. Kansas, 191 U.S. 207, 222, 224 (1903).)
Approximately two thirds of the States have laws regulating the
hours of labor on public work. The Federal Government places a
limit on the hours of labor of employees engaged on public works
whether the work is done by a contractor or a subcontractor. Until
the recent sessions of the State legislatures no action has been taken in
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, or Tennessee on this
Private Employment
Legislation on hours of labor was upheld as a valid exercise of the
legislative power to protect the lives, the health, and the morals of its
citizens as early as 1898. Though there was some question of the
validity of this legislation following a decision in 1905 holding an
hour law for bakeries invalid, the courts now uphold the constitu­
tionality of reasonable hours of labor legislation based upon the
reasoning that the physical well-being of the population is an object
of public interest.
A more complete discussion of the constitutional questions involved
in the recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court was given
in an article in the Monthly Labor Review for January 1933, entitled
“Legal Restrictions on Hours of Labor of Men in the United States.”
Approximately 27 States and the United States have enacted legisla­
tion limiting the hours of labor of men in private employments.
Table 6 shows the action taken by Georgia and South Carolina.
No legislation of this kind has been enacted in Alabama, Florida,
or Tennessee.
T able


Daily Week­



South Carolina


6.— Regulations of hours of labor of men
Occupations or industries covered

60 Cotton and woolen manufacture, except: En­
gineers, firemen, watchmen, mechanics,
teamsters, yard employees, clerical forces,
cleaners, repairmen.
Certain street-railway employees.......................
55 Cotton and woolen mills....................................
Interurban railway employees..... ......................

Code, 1910, sec. 3137
(as amended by
acts of 1911, p. 65,
act no. 279).
Code, 1932, sec. 1479.
Idem, sec. 1466.
Idem, sec. 1480.

Legal Restrictions on the Employment of Minors

Hours of Labor of .Minors
The State may exercise practically unlimited supervision and control
over the contracts and occupations of minors. In order to safeguard
the physical, moral, and intellectual well-being of minors, it makes
regulations concerning their attendance at school, prohibits their
employment under stated ages or until a fixed degree of education
has been acquired, limits the hours of labor when employment is
permitted, and prohibits altogether employments in certain occupa­
tions which it considers dangerous to safety, health, or morals.
The following table is compiled from the child-labor laws of the
five States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennes­
see) meeting in conference:
T able 7.— Legal restrictions on hours of labor of minors

Un­ Maximum
of— Daily Weekly


Georgia.................. (0



South Carolina__ 0)









Occupation or industries specified


6 Any gainful occupation.............................. Code, 1923, sec.
6 Factory, workshop, laundry, mine, mill. Comp. Gen. L.,
1927, sec. 5949.
Cotton and woolen factories____ ______ Code, 1910, sec.
3137 ( a s
amended by
Acts of 1911,
p. 65).
Cotton and woolen establishments man­ Code,1932, secs.
ufacturing yarns, cloth, hosiery, and 1466 and 1478.
other products. No provision for
stores except a maximum 12-hour day
and 60-hour week for all females.
6 Mill, factory, workshop, cannery, laun­ Code, 1932, secs.
5319 and 5323.
dry, telegraph, or telephone office.

1 All persons.
a 10H hours per day permitted only for purpose of providing 1 short day per week.

Children in Street Trades
The Children's Bureau of the United States Department of Labor
has published a chart showing the “ State laws and local ordinances
regulating the street work of children.,,6 In a foreword it is pointed
out that street work of children in the United States is regulated by
means of a number of types of legal provisions which may be classified
as follows:

1. Regulations, either State laws or municipal ordinances, that apply specifi­
cally to children engaged on their own account in newspaper selling or other street
work; and
• For a complete analysis of the State laws and regulations affecting child labor in street trades see
Children’s Bureau chart no. 15 or May 1929 issue of Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Labor Review.




2. Regulations, either State laws or local ordinances, that have an indirect
effect upon street work or that apply only to certain groups of street workers.
These include (a) State child-labor laws regulating general employment which
cover employment in certain street occupations, such as bootblacking; (b) State
laws prohibiting the employment or use of children in certain mendicant or
“ wandering” occupations, including peddling; (c) State laws restricting the sale
or distribution of newspapers or magazines devoted to criminal or obscene sub­
jects; (d) State juvenile-court laws that class as dependents or delinquents chil­
dren under certain ages found selling articles on the street; and (e) municipal
curfew ordinances.
The regulations generally regarded as most effective are those which apply
specifically to work done by children on their own account. It has been found
that most street work cannot be regulated by a general child-labor law, which
usually applies only to “employment” of labor under certain conditions, as most
street workers are not working for an employer and the word “employ” in the
latter type of law is ordinarily construed to mean the purchasing of the services
of one person by another.

State laws.—The State laws that most effectively regulate street work by
children are usually broad enough in application to cover all kinds of such work—
at least all those in which any considerable number of children engage—and
provide a minimum age for work, a prohibition of night work, and some system
of enforcement. In the administration of any child-labor regulation some sort
of work-permit system has been found necessary to keep children from going to
work without fulfilling the age and other requirements of the law and to make
possible supervision of the child while at work; in street-trades regulation a
badge is usually substituted for the permit or is used in addition to it. Adminis­
trative provisions usually found in good laws include a requirement that before
he receives a badge a child should present reliable evidence that he is of the legal
age for such work, is in good physical condition, and is undertaking the work
with the knowledge and approval of his parent and his school principal. Such
laws require the street worker to attend school regularly, provide for revocation
of the badge if he fails to comply with the law, and make provision for enforce­
ment through street inspections and through the imposition of penalties appli­
cable not only to the employer and the parent but also to the child and sometimes
to the person wT furnishes him with the papers or other merchandise to be sold.
Badges under most of the laws are issued by some school authority—usually the
officer issuing employment certificates for work in industrial establishments—and
enforcement is placed most often in the hands of the same officials, with general
general supervisory powers given in some instances to the State department re­
sponsible for the enforcement of labor laws. Under some laws, however, police
officers, truant officers, or probation officers are given coordinate authority.
Municipal ordinances.—Municipal street-trades ordinances follow the same
general lines as the State laws; but their standards on the whole are lower, and
their application is often confined to the work of newsboys, not covering news­
paper carriers and other street workers. Though obviously the same type of
administrative machinery is needed for the effective carrying out of an ordinance
as for the enforcement of a State law, the provisions for this purpose in local
ordinances as a rule are worked out much less carefully than in the better State

State child labor laws of general application.—In many States the child labor
laws regulating general industrial employment apply to certain specific kinds of
work done in the street or are so broad in application as to include all such kinds
of employment. These laws are generally interpreted, however, to apply only
to the child who receives wages or other return from an employer.7
State laws penalizing employment in peddling.—Laws somewhat different in
scope are those which penalize an employer or other person who employs or
exhibits a child under a specified age in certain vocations or exhibitions such as
rope or wire walking, begging, peddling, or other “wandering occupations”, and
which penalize also the parent who “sells or otherwise disposes of the child to
engage in these vocations.

7 Child-labor laws applicable to the employment of children in all gainful occupations or in all gainful
occupations during school hours are summarized in Standards of Child Labor, Children’s Bureau, Chart
No. l.



State laws prohibiting sale of criminal news.—A type of legislation which because
of its narrow scope and lack of enforcement machinery does not bear effectively
upon the street-trades problem, though it deals with a certain phase of street
selling, is found in the laws of 12 States which prohibit the distribution or sale
by minors‘under 16, 18, or 21 years of age of pamphlets, newspapers, and maga­
zines principally made up of criminal news, police reports, pictures and stories of
deeds of crime, bloodshed, etc.
State laws relating to dependency and delinquency.—Thirteen States and the
District of Columbia have juvenile-court or other laws providing for the care
and commitment of dependent, neglected, and delinquent children, which include
in their definitions of such children any child under a specified age who is found
peddling or selling articles—some of them specifying selling newspapers—or
accompanying or assisting any person so doing.
Local curfew ordinances.—Curfew ordinances, declaring it unlawful for any
child under a given age (usually under 14 or under 16) to be on the streets at
night unless accompanied by his parent or having his parents written permis­
sion, have sometimes been used with a degree of success to prevent children from
selling on the streets after a certain hour in the evening. Such ordinances, on
the other band, have been held in some places not to apply to the street worker,
as he has been considered a “merchant” pursuing his own business, with a right
to be on the street. Some ordinances of this type, moreover, apply only to
children “loitering” on the streets or exempt specifically a minor whose “em­
ployment” makes it necessary for him to be upon the street after the prohibited

Approximately 21 States8have enacted a law placing some form of
restriction on the employment of children in the street trades. Such
a law is also in force in the District of Columbia.
In Alabama boys under 12 and girls under 18 years of age are pro­
hibited from distributing, selling, exposing, or offering for sale news­
papers, magazines, periodicals, handbills, or circulars; or from em­
ployment in any other trade or occupation performed in any street
or public place. No boy under 16 years of age is allowed to engage
in the above occupations after 8 p.m. or before 5 a.m. (Code, 1923,
secs. 3512 and 3513).
The Florida law provides that boys under 10 and girls under 16
years of age in cities having a population of 6,000 or over shall be pro­
hibited from distributing, selling, exposing, or offering for sale, news­
papers, magazines, or periodicals in street or public places. Exception
is made in the case of boys employed in the delivery of newspapers to
regular subscribers outside of school hours (Comp. Gen. Laws, 1927,
sec. 5941).
The States of Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee have
enacted no laws on this subject.
Nightwork of Minors
Legislation prohibiting nightwork for minors has been enacted
in all of the States except Montana 9 and Washington,10 and also
in the District* of Columbia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine
Islands. The constitutionality of these laws has been upheld under
the police power of the State as being for the protection of the life,
health, and safety of minor children.
Several of the States prohibit the engaging of minors within certain
hours at night in any gainful occupation, while in other jurisdictions
specified occupations and industnes are enumerated. In approxi­

8 Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachu­
setts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, arid Wisconsin.
• Minors under 16 are, however, prohibited from working in factories at any time.
10 Work by minors under 18 is prohibited from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., by order of the Industrial Welfare



mately 30 jurisdictions there are special provisions regulating the
night hours of messengers. The most common period during which
night work is prohibited in this group is from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The
prohibition of street trades within certain hours at night is also
provided in many of the States, these hours ranging from 7 or 8 p.m.
to 5 or 6 a.m.
Agriculture and domestic service are as a rule excluded froip the
prohibitory provisions, as well as minors employed in mercantile
establishments during the holiday season (usually December 17-24)
and inventory periods.
The table below sets forth the laws regarding nightwork for minors
existing in the five States meeting in conference.
T able 8.

— Laws governing night work for minors


South Carolina.

Hours during
which work Occupations or industries specified
Fe­ is prohibited
Males males

7 p.m.-6 a.m.
10 p.m.-6 a.m.
8 p.m.-5 a.m ..
___ do..............
10 p.m.-5 a.m.
9 p.m.~6 a.m..

Any gainful occupation (agricultural
labor or domestic service excepted).
Street trades.................. ......................
Mills, factories, workshops, laun­
dries, mines.

Code, 1923, sec.
Idem, sec. 3497.
Idem secs. 3513,
Rev. Gen. Stats.,
1927, sec. 5949.
Idem, sec. 5951.
Acts of 1910, p.
117, no. 486,
Acts of 1925, p.
291, sec. 2.
Code, 1932, sec.

14-16 14-16 7 p.m.-6 a.m.. Mills, factories, laundries, manufac­
turing establishments, workshops.
16 16 8 p.m.-6 a.m.. Factories, mines, or textile manufac­
tories. (In certain cases children
under 16 may work 1 hour later to
make up lost time caused by acci­
dent or breaking down of machin­
18 18 10 p.m.-5 a.m. Messengers in cities of 5,000 popula­ Idem, sec. 1474.
tion or over.
18 18 ...d o ...............
Code, 1932, sec.
14-16 14-16 7 p.m.-6 a.m.. Mills, factories, workshops, can­ Idem.
neries, laundries, telegraph or tele­
phone offices, messenger service.

Dangerous Trades for Minors
All of the 48 States provide some kind of legislation prohibiting
the employment of minors in dangerous occupations or industries.
Many of the States enumerate the dahgerous employments and occu­
pations most commonly prohibited—such as the cleaning and oiling
of moving machinery, work in connection with processes in which
poisonous acids and gases are used, or on scaffolding, heavy work in
building trades, tunnels, or excavations. Legislation in other States
is of a general nature, and provides that any place of employment or
any occupation which is dangerous or prejudicial to the health, morals,
life, or limb of the child is prohibited—such as acrobatic or gymnastic
exhibitions, theatrical work, pool rooms, or bowling alleys. Approxi­
mately 15 of the States prohibit the employment of female employees
where duties require them to stand constantly.



In the following table the laws of the several States meeting in
conference are shown, with the prohibited employments enumerated
and the citation of the particular acts. In general the rules and
regulations promulgated by the various State departments of labor
are not included in the compilation.
T able

9.— Legislation governing dangerous trades for minors

Age limit
Males males



23634—33----- i

Prohibited occupations or industries

16 Operating or assisting in operating any of the following
machines* Circular or band saws, wood shapers, wood
jointers, planers, sandpaper or wood-polishing machin­
ery, wood turning or boring machinery, machines used in
picking wool, cotton, hair, or any other material, job or
cylinder printing presses, boring or drilling presses,
stamping machines used in sheet metal or tinware or in
paper or leather manufacturing or in washer or nut fac­
tories, metal or paper cutting machines, corner-staying
machines, steam boilers, dough brakes or cracker ma­
chinery of any description, wire or iron straightening or
drawing machinery, rolling-mill machinery, power
punches or shears, washing, grinding, or mixing machin­
ery, laundering machinery; in or about a rolling mill,
machine shop or manufacturing establishment, which is
hazardous, or dangerous to health, limb, or life; in
proximity to any hazardous or unguarded gearing; upon
any railroad, whether steam, electric, or hydraulic; upon
any vessel or boat engaged in navigation or commerce
within the jurisdiction of this State.
16 In, about, or in connection with processes in which danger­
ous or poisonous acids are used or in the manufacture or
packing of paints, colors, white or red lead; soldering;
occupations causing dust in injurious quantities; manu­
facture or use of poisonous dyes; manufacture or prepara­
tion of compositions with dangerous or poisonous gases;
manufacture or use of compositions of lye in which quan­
tity is injurious^ to health; on scaffolding; heavy work
in building trades; in tunnel or excavation; coke breaker,
coke oven, or quarry; any mine or assorting, manufac­
turing, or packing tobacco; operating any automobile,
motor car, or truck; work in bowling alleys, upon theater
or concert-hall stages, or in connection with theatrical
performance or other exhibition or show; in any place
or occupation State board of health may declare danger­
ous to life or limb or injurious to health or morals.
Pool or billiard room..................................................................
Pool room, billiard room, brewery, saloon, or barroom
where intoxicating liquors are manufactured or sold.
16 Sewing or assisting in sewing belts; adjusting belt to ma­
chinery; oiling or assisting in oiling, wiping, or cleaning
machinery; operating or assisting in operating circular or
band saws, wood shapers or jointers, planers, sandpaper or
wood-polishing machinery, emery or polishing wheels for
polishing sheet metal, wood turning or boring machinery,
stamping machines in sheet-metal and tinware manufac­
turing or in washer and nut factories, dough brakes or
cracker machinery, wire or iron straightening machinery,
rolling-mill machinery, punches or shears, washing,
grinding, or mixing mills, calendar rolls in rubber manu­
facturing, laundry machinery, passenger or freight ele­
vators, corrugated rolls as in roofing factories, or steamboiler, steam machinery, or other steam-generating appa­
ratus; as pin boys in bowling alley; preparing composi­
tion in which dangerous or poisonous acids are used; man
ufacture of paints, colors, or white lead, or of goods for
immoral purposes; any occupation dangerous or injurious
to health or morals or to life and limb.

Code, 1923, sec

Idem, sec. 3500.

Idem, sec. 3498.
Rev. G e n .
Stats., 1927,
sec. 5950.
Idem, sec. 5953.



T a b le 9.


—Legislation governing dangerous trades for minors— Continued

Age limit
Males males


South Carolina.

Prohibited occupations or industries

18 Moving machinery.................................................... .............
16 Operating or assisting in operating any of the following
machines: Circular or band saws; wood shapers; wood
jointers; planers; sandpaper or wood-polishing machin­
ery; wood turning or boring machinery; machines used
in picking wool, cotton, hair, or any other material; job
or cylinder printing presses; boring or drilling presses;
Stamping machines used in sheet metal or tinware, or
in paper or leather manufacturing, or in washer or nut
factories; metal or paper cutting machines; corner-staying machines; steam boilers; dough brakes or cracker
machinery of any description; wire or iron straightening
or drawing machinery; rolling-mill machinery; power
punches or shears; washing, grinding, or mixing machin­
ery; laundering machinery; in or about a rolling mill,
machine shop, or manufacturing establishment, which
is hazardous, or dangerous to health, limb, or life; in
proximity to any hazardous or unguarded gearing; upon
any railroad, whether steam, electric, or hydraulic;
upon any vessel or boat engaged in navigation or com­
merce within the jurisdiction of this State; in, about, or
in connection with any process in which dangerous or
poisonous acids are used; manufacture or packing of
paints, colors, white or red lead; soldering; occupations
causing dust in injurious quantities; manufacture or
use of poisonous dyes; manufacture or preparation of
compositions with dangerous or poisonous gases; man­
ufacture or use of compositions of lye in which the
quantity is injurious to health; on scaffolding; heavy
work in the building trades; in tunnel or excavation;
in, about, or in connection with any mine, coke breaker,
j coke oven, or quarry; to operate any automobile, motor
car or truck; in bowling alley; in any place or occupa­
tion which the State board of health may declare danger­
ous to life or limb or injurious to the health or morals.
(This act shall not apply to job or cylinder presses oper­
ated in connection with charitable or eleemosynary
Dangerous or improper vocations. (Rope walking, beg­
ging, gymnast, circus rider, etc.)
14 Cleaning gears, cams, or pulleys, or cleaning in dangerous
proximity thereto, while same are in motion by aid of
steam, water, electricity, or other mechanical power.
16 Repairing machine belts while in motion, in workshop or
factory, or assisting therein; adjusting belt to machinery;
oiling or cleaning machinery or assisting therein; oper­
ating or assisting in operating circular or band saws,
wood shapers or jointers, planers, sandpaper or woodpolishing machinery, picker machines, machines used in
picking wool, cotton, hair, or upholstering material,
paper-lace machines, leather-burnishing machines in
tannery or leather factory, power job or cylinder printing
presses, emery or polishing wheels used for polishing
metal, wood turning or boring machinery, stamping
machines in sheet-metal and tinware manufacturing or
in washer and nut factories, corrugating rolls as in roofing
and washboard factories, steam boilers, steam machinery
or other steam-generating apparatus, dough brakes or
cracker machinery, wire or iron straightening machinery,
rolling-mill machinery, punches or shears, washing,
grinding, or mixing mills, calender rolls in rubber man­
ufacturing, or laundering machinery; dipping, drying,
or packing matches; in mines or quarries.

Idem, sec. 5954,
Acts of 1925,
No. 247, sec.
3 (p. 291).

C o d e , 1910
(Penal Code),
sec. 756.
Code, 1932, sec.
Code, 1932, sec.

Status of Proposed Federal Child-Labor Amendment
At the first session of the Sixty-eighth Congress which was held
in 1924, a joint resolution (H.J.lies. No. 184)11 originated in the
House of Representatives proposing a child-labor amendment to the
United States Constitution. The resolution was approved in the
House on April 26, 1924, and was followed by adoption in the Senate
u 43 U.S. Stat. L. 670.



on June 2. Two days later the joint resolution was deposited in the
Department of State and was thereupon submitted to the States.
Under the Constitution a proposed amendment to the Constitution
must be ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the States before
it becomes valid.
The text of the amendment reads as follows:

Section 1. The Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the
labor of persons under 18 years of age.
Sec . 2. The power of the several States is unimpared by this article except
that the operation of State laws shall be suspended to the extent necessary to
give effect to legislation enacted by the Congress.

At the time the amendment was submitted to the States the proposal
was rejected by many States, and ratified by a few; other States
took no action. At the beginning of 1933 only 6 States had officially
ratified the amendment (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado,
Montana, and Wisconsin).
Under the impetus of the acute unemployment situation, the legis­
latures of nine States during 1933 reversed their previous stand on
this question, and the following States were added to the list of those
States which had already ratified the proposed amendment: Michian, New Hampshire, New Jersey,
fWashington, Illinois, and Oklahoma.North Dakota, Ohio, 1, 1933,
As of September
therefore, 15 States had officially ratified the amendment.
Since there is no time limit within which the States are obliged to
act on the proposal, it is still possible for other States to change their
previous position.
Approximately 150 codes, adopted to date (December 8, 1933) un­
der the National Industrial Recovery Act establish the principle of a
16-year-age minimum in the industries covered. In the manufacturing
industries, in mines, banks, hotels, etc., no employer may employ any
person under 16 years of age, and the codes of most of the hazardous
industries provide that the minimum age for employment in the dis­
tinctly hazardous occupations shall be higher—17 and 18 years. Minors
between the ages of 14 and 16 may be employed part time, however,
in certain retail establishments—namely, in department and chain
stores, hardware, drug, food, and grocery stores. The hours of such
employment must not exceed 3 hours per day, must not interfere with
the hours of day school, and must fall between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Boys
under 16 may not be employed at all for delivering from motor vehicles.

Minimum Wage Legislation
In an attempt to equalize the power of the employer and employee
in making the wage bargain, many States have enacted minimum
wage legislation. The same motive—i.e., the protection of the health
and welfare of the worker—which has caused the States to enact laws
setting standards for safety and sanitation and in many cases the
maximum length of the woriving day, has caused many of the States
to pass minimum wage laws for the protection of the worker against
the evils of low wages. By setting a barrier below which wages may
not fall, it lightens the poverty and prevents the degeneration of those
forced to live on a wage too small to supply the necessaries of life.
Minimum wage laws attempt neither to destroy competition nor to
fix wages by law; they merely seek to set the lower limits to both in
the interest of society as a whole.
In Australia, where minimum wage laws were first enacted, the
laws usually provided for the payment of a wage “sufficient to enable
the average worker to whom it applies to live in reasonable comfort,
having regard to any domestic obligation to which such average
worker would ordinarily be subject.” 12
In England, however, no standard is set and the purpose of the
law is to level the wage for the whole trade in each district up to the
standard of the best employer in that district.13
In the United States, due to constitutional restrictions, the mini­
mum wage laws have followed neither the Australian nor the British
idea but attempt to establish a wage which is reasonable and adequate
compensation for the services rendered, or to establish a wage which
is adequate to supply the cost of proper living and maintain the health
and welfare of such workers. The laws in the United States apply
only to women and minors. Much has been accomplished in the
establishment of a minimum wage through the codes adopted under
the National Recovery Act, but this does not take the place of legis­
lative action on this question by the States.
Sixteen States (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Mas­
sachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York,
North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and
Wisconsin) have minimum wage laws in effect at this time.
The majority of the minimum wage laws enacted during the current
year are based upon the standard minimum wage bill sponsored by
the National Consumers’ League. The standard bill does not attempt
to regulate wages generally. The law as proposed has sought to meet
the constitutional objection to such legislation raised by the United
States Supreme Court in the case of Adkins v. Children’s Hospital
(261 U.S. 525). As a preamble the law describes the industrial con­
ditions that demand minimum-wage legislation. The law does not

i* Western Australia, Industrial Arbitration Act, 1912, No. 57.
is The Survey, Feb. 6,1915, p. 503: “ The State and the Minimum Wage in England,” by John A.




attempt to fix a living wage. Whenever a substantial number of
women and minors in any occupation are receiving less than a sub­
sisting wage the law provides that the industrial commission may
conduct an investigation to determine whether the wages are “fairly
mensurate with the value of the service or class
The law defines an unreasonable wage as one that is “less than the
fair and reasonable value of the services lendered, and less than suffi­
cient to meet the minimum cost of living necessary for health.”
Under the terms of the law, power is granted to the. labor commis­
sioner, after a directory minimum-w8ge order has been in effect for a
period of time, to make such wage orders mandatory, if he is of the
opinion that “the persistent nonobservance of such order by one or
more employers is a threat to the maintenance of fair minimum-wage
Employers who fail to observe the provisions of the law and the
orders of the labor official are liable to fine and imprisonment.

T able



9a.— Principal provisions of minimum wage laws in effect in 19SS


Occupations or 1 Body empow­
ered to admin­
ister law

Method of select­
ing occupation
or industry to Method ofawards at
be considered by
this body

Means provided Principles by
for securing which amount
enforcement of of award is



discretion of
Calif__ Deering’s W o m e n ; Women physically de­ O trades, and in* Industrial wel­ Atcom mi ss io n. Commissionercomposed Refusal to com­ Amount must
wage board
be adequate
fare commis­
fective by age or
m i n o r s otherwise may be du str ie s in sion of 5 mem­ Inv estig ation of representatives of ply with law to supply nec­
a misdemean­
which women bers (1 a wo­ conducted by ployees in and em­ or. Employee essary costi vof
granted special li­
1931; Act under 21, cense. License must and minors man) appoint­ examining pa­
trade in may recover p ro pe r l ­
males un
back wages ing, and to
Gover­ pers, books,
be renewed every 6 are employed. ed by 4 years. nesses, and wit­ question, with mem­ and costs.
der 18).
m aintain
by ber of commission as
nor for
months. Appren­
h e a l t h and
holding public chairman; after inves­
tices: Special wages
tigation the board re­
w e l f a r e of
set by commission
ports to commission
during spe cified
the minimum wage
period of apprentice­
it deems necessary.
After public hearing
commissioner fixes
minimum wage for
the trade.
discretion of
Colo.. C o m p . Wm im e n s; Women physically de­ Any occupation Industrial com­ Atcommission or Commission may itself ____do................. Wage must be
investigate and
adequate to
mission of 3 at request of not minimum wage for set
fective or crippled (construed to
supply neces­
by age or otherwise include
19 2 1; ( e i t h e r or less efficient than a n d e v“eany members (not less than 25 per­ occupation, or it may
sary cost of
more than 1
sex under t
living and to
of ordinary v o c t i o n , e a c h em* the engaged in composed of member
4 26 2 - 18 years of a h oi s iet y m a y be trade,apursuit, senting repre­ sons occupation. establish wage board
m aintain
b l
health, a n d
ployees and Inv estig ation more than repre­
granted special li­ a n d indus- 1 em ployers), conductedbyex- of commission3and not
must be suf­
cense, stating wage; try ”).
ficient living
appointed by amining books, sentatives each of em­
number so licensed
w a g e s for
G o v e r n o r , papers, and wit­ ployers concerned, of
must not exceed one
women a n d
with consent nesses, and by female employees, and
tenth of total em­
minors of ordi­
of senate, for 6 holding public of public. Representa­
ployed in establish­
tives of employers and
nary ability.
the employees to be
elected by their respec­
tive groups; at least
1 member of every
group to be a woman.
Wage board investi­
gates and reports to
commission a mini­
mum wage which
c o m m i s s i o n may
accept or reject.



discretion of conferring with after with manda- sufficient to
C onn- A c ts of Women; mi­ Women or learners(in­ Any cu pa ti on Commissioner Atcommissioner or Com missioner, direc­ Noncompliance Wages must be
of labor and
or oc
1033, ch. nors (ei­ cluding
mini ­
to r y
(defined as in­ di re c t or of director, or at tor, appoints wage m akesorder­ meet cost of
ther sex, apprentices) with
of 50 or not more than 3 of
under 21 earning capacity im­ dustry, trade, m i n idivision requestresidents board composed rep­ ployer liable living neces­
business, or wage
years of paired by age, phys­ oc cu pa ti on which may be of State.
to fine or
resentatives each of prisonmentim­ sary for health.
ical or mental de­
employers and of em­ both. Each
ficiency, or injury, paying unfair set up in de­
ployees concerned (to
may obtain special and oppres­ partment of
be selected as far as week, in any
sive wages,
license authorizing
day of which
pr a c ti ca b le from an employee is
wage lower than but not in­
nominations by re­ paid less than
established m ini­ cluding do­
spective groups), and
mum for fixed pe­ mestic service
of pub li c. After rate set by
in employer’s
studying evidence and order, consti­
home or labor
information in com­ tutes separate
on farm).
missioner’s possession, offense as to
board must, within each employee
60 days of its organi­ so paid. Em­
ployee may
zation, submit report, recover back
including r e co m ­
m ended minimum wages and
fair-wage standards costs.
for women and minors
in occupation. The
commissioner may ac­
cept or reject this re­
Any industry, Department of At discretion of Director appoints wage Violationo rof Wage must be
Ac ts of Women; mi­ ..d o ----Ill
at y mens rate
labor, having department or board composed rep­ m a n ddeemed fairly u com­
trade, or busi­
1033, p. nors (fe­
ness, branch director and at request of 50 not more than 2 of order
males un­
resentatives each
or more resi­ employers and of em­ misdemeanor with value of
thereof, or assistant di- dents of any
d e r 18,
and punished service ren­
class of work- r e c t o r a p ­
males unployees in the occupa­ by fine or im- dered, and
therein, in pointed by county.
der 21
tion (to be selected as prisonment sufficientinto
which women governor with
years of
m i­
far as practicable from or both.inEach meet cost of
or minors are advice and
nominations s u b ­ week, which mum neces­
gainfully em­ consent of sen­
mitted by respective day of is not living health.
ployed (not in­ ate.
groups), and of 1 dis­ complied with, sary for
cluding do­
interested person rep­ c on st it ut e s
mestic service
resenting public. The separate of­
in employer’s
board investigates fense as to
home or labor
wage standards of each employee
on farm).
women or minors in concerned.
specified occupation,
an d re co m m e nd s
minimum wage which
may be accepted or


T ab le 9a .— Principal provisions of minimum wage laws in effect in 1933—Continued




Occupations or Body empow­
ered to admin­
ister law

Method of select­
ing occupation
or industry to
be considered by
this body

Method of arriving at
wrage awards

Means provided Principles by
for securing which amount
enforcement of of award is



Mass.,.. Gen. Laws F e m a l e s ; Women physically de­ Any occupation. Board of concili­ At discretion of Board organizes a wage Publication of Wages must be
ation and ar­ board.
board composed of names of all suitable for
1832, eh. m i n o r s fective may obtain
bitration, com­
equal number of rep­ employers re­ female of ordi­
151, secs. (under 18 license authorizing
posed of 3 asso­
resentatives each of fusing to com- nary ability,
years of wage lower than es­
tablished minimum.
ciate commis­
employers and of fe­ p ly w i t h be based on
sioners of de­
male employees in a w a r d s of needs of em­
partment of la­
the occupation (to be board.
ployee and fi­
bor and indusselected from names
nancial condi­
tries (1 repre­
furnished by respec­
tion of indus­
senting labor
tive groups), and of 1
try, and be
and 1 repre­
or more disinterested
adequate to
senting em­
persons to represent
supply neces­
ployers), ap­
public (but represent­
sary cost of
pointed by
atives of public not to
l i v i n g a nd
governor for 3
exceed half the num­
maintain the
ber of representatives
w o r k e r in
of either of the other
parties). After study,
wage board recom­
mends a minimum
wage which board
may accept or reject.
M ian... Gen. Stats. W o m en ; Women physically de­ Any occupation Industrial com­ At discretion of Commission may itself Refusal to com­ Amount must
3923, sec. minors (fe­ fective may obtain (defined as any mission of 3 commission or investigate and deter­ ply with law be adequate
42i0-1232. males un­ license fixing wage business, in­ members, ap­ at request of 100 mine a minimum wage a misdemean­ to supply liv­
ci e r l a lower than estab­ dustry, trade, po in te d by persons engaged for occupation in ques­ or. Employee ing wages for
year? of lished minimum. or branch of governor with in the occupa­ tion, or it may estab­ may recover women and
advice and cuntion. Invest iua- lish advisory board back wages minors of or dage, males Licensees not to ex­ a trade).
under 21 ceed one tenth of
sent of senate, tion conducted composed of not less and costs.
nary ability.
by examining than 3 or more than 10
years of number employed in
for 6 years.
papers, books, representatives each of
witnesses, and employers and of em­
by holding pub­ ployees in occupation
lic hearings.
and 1 or more repre­
sentatives of public
(but no more repre­
sentatives of public
than in either one of
the other groups). At
least one fifth of board
must be women and
public group must


-do........... .

Any occupation Commissioner of At discretion of
(defined as in­ labor, with di­ commissioner or
dustry, trade, rector of mini­ on petition of 50
or business, or mum wage di- or more residents
branch there­ vi s io n and of State.
of, but not in­ such deputy
cluding domes­ directors as
tic service in commissioner
e m p lo y e r ’s deems advis­
home, labor able.
on farm, or
employment in
a hotel).


A c t s of
1933, ch.


A c t s of W o m e n ; Women or minors (in­ Any occupation Labor commis- At discretion of
1933, ch. m i n o r s cluding learners or (defined as in­ s io n e r, a p ­ commissioner or
(either sex, apprentices) with dustry, trade, p o in t e d by on petition of 50
u n d e r 21 earning capacity im­ or business, or Governor with or more resi­
years of paired oy age, physi­ branch there­ advice and dents of State.
cal or mental defici­ of, but not in­ c o n s e n t of I n v e s t i g a ­
ency, or injury, may cluding d o - council, for 3 tion conducted
be granted special mestic service years.
by examination
license authorizing in employer’s
of witnesses,
wage lower than es­ home or labor
books, records,
tablished minimum on farm).
a n d other rel­
for fixed period.
evant evidence.

contain at least 1wom­
an. After examination
of books and witnesses
board recommends
minimum wage, which
commission may ac­
cept or reject.
Commissioner appoints Noncompliance Wage must be
wage board composed with manda­ fairly and rea­
of not more than 3 rep­ tory o r d e r sonably comresentatives each of m a k e s em­ m e n s u r a t e
employers and em­ ployer liable with value of
ployees in the occupa­ to fine or im- service or class
tion (to be selected as prison men t of service ren­
far as practicable from or both. Each dered.
nominations by re­ week, in any
spective groups) and day of which
of public. Board in­ an employee
vestigates and recom­
mends minimum wage than rate set
which commissioner by order, con­
stitutes sepa­
may accept or reject .
rate offense as
to each em­
ployee so paid.
Em ployee
may recover
wages and
P a y m e n t of
wages less than
those set by
mandatory or­
der deemed a
and punished
by fine or imErisonment or
oth. Each
week, in any
day of which
an order is not
complied with,
constitutes a
separate o f fense as to
each employee
so paid.


T able


N .D ak .





9a.—Principal provisions of minimum wage laws in effect in 19S8—Continued

Occupations or

Body empow­
ered to admin­
ister law

Method of select­
ing occupation Method of arriving at
or industry to
wage awards
be considered by
this body

Means provided Principles by
for securing which amount
enforcement of of award is

appoints P a y m e n t of Wage must be
discretion of
Women; mi­ Women or minors (in­ Any occupation Commissioner Atcommissioner or Commissioner etc.
wages less than fa irly a nd
wage board,
(defined as in­
1933, ch. nors (either cluding learners or dustry, trade, of labor, etc.
those set by r e a s o n a b ly
on petition of 50
sex, under apprentices) etc.
mandatory or­ com me nsu or more residents
or business, or
18 years of
der deemed, r a t e w i t h
of State.
branch thereof
value of seretc.
or class of work
vice or class
t h e re i n , in
of s e r v i c e
which women
or minors are
gainfully em­
ployed,but not
including do­
mestic service
in employer’s
home or labor
on farm).
Any occupation W or km e n ’ s At discretion of Bureau organizes con­ Refusal to order Wages must be
Supp. to ...d o ............. Females p h by ic a l ly (defined as compensation bureau. Inves­ ference composed of ply with oom- adequate to
defective age or
necesig a ti
otherwise (or ap­ business, in­ bureau, of 3 tducted o n c on­ not more than 3of em­ of workmen’s supplycost of
compensation sary
by ex­ sentatives each
prentices or learners dustry, trade, posed
19 1 3 ployers and of em­ bureau un­
iving nd
in occupation usu­ or branch commissioners amining papers, ployees in the occupa­ lawful. isEm­ lmaintain awo*
1925, ch.
ally requiring such) thereof, b u t (l employers, books, and wit­
5, art.
in question,
ployee may
may be granted spe­ not including ingemployees, nesses, and by tionpublic, and 1and recover ba ck men h workers
cial license author­ agricultural or and 1 public), holding public more commissioners. w a g e s an d in e a l t h .
domestic serv­
izing wage lower
3 9 6 b 1Conference i n v e s t i ­ oosts.
wages for miappointed by
than e s t a b l i s h e d ice).
gates and recommends
nor workers.
governor for 6
m i n i m u m wage,
which bureau may
accept or reject.
Any occupation Diroctor of in­ At discretion of Commissionercomposed P wages n tless Wage must reaA c t s of ...d o .............. Women or minors (in­ (defined as in dustrial rela­ commissioner or wage board appoints a y m e of fairly and be
cluding learners, or
1933, H.
apprentices) with dustry, trade, tions, w i th on petitionre s 50 of not more than 3 than those set sonably comB. 681.
earning capacity im­ or business, or sup eri nt en­ or moreState.i ­ representativesand of by mandatory m e n s u r a t of
of employers
order deemed with value
branch there­ dent of mini- dents of
paired by age, physi­
employees in the occu­ a m i s d e- s e r v i c e or
cal or mental defi­ of, or class of m um wage
pation (to be selected meanor and class of service
division and
ciency, or injury, work therein, such assistant
as far as practicable punished by rendered.
may be granted in which wo­ superintend­
from nominations by fine or imprisspecial license au­ men or minors ents as may
respective groups) and o n m e n t or
thorizing wage low­ are’ gainfully be necessary.
of public. Board in­ b o t h . Ea c h
er than established employed, but
vestigates and recom­ week, in any
minimuih for fixed not including
me n d s m i n i m u m day of which
agricultural or










domestic serv­

wage, which commis­
sioner may accept or

order is not
with, consti­
tutes a sepa­
rate offense as
to each em­
ployee so paid.
Refusal to com­ Wage must be
ply with law a adequate to
misdemeanor supply neces­
a n d punish­ sary cost of
able by fine living and to
or imprison­ m a i n t a i n
ment or both. health.
E mp-l oye e
may recover
b a ck wages
and costs.




Oreg-.-- Code 1930, Women physically de­ Any occupation Industrial wel­ At discretion of Commission organizes
secs. 49fective or crippled (defined as fare commis­ c o m m issio n
303-49by age or otherwise any and every sion of 3 mem­ Inv estig ation conference composed
of not more
may obtain license .vocation, pur­ bers (1 repre­ conducted by representativesthan of
fixing wage lower s u it, tra d e , senting em­ exam ining pa­ employers and each
of 1931,
of em­
ch. 394,
than e sta b lis h e d an d in d u s ­ ployers and 1 pers, books, and ployees in the occu­
secs. 1-3.
em ployees), witnesses, and pation and of public,
appointed by by holding pub­ and 1 or more com­
governor for 3 lic hearings.
missioners. C o n fe r­
ence investigates and
recommends m in i­
m um w age, w h ich
commission may ac­
cept or reject.
S.Dak.. Comp. Women and Women mentally or Any fa c to ry , Industrial com­
Minimum wage fixed Refusal to com­ Wage must be
Laws girls over or disabled deficient cworkshop, me­ missioner apply with law a amount which
by law.
h an ic al or p o in te d by
may ob­
1929 (as 14 years of
misdemeanor. equals a liv­
tain permit author­ mercantile es­ governor for 2
E m p l o y e e ing wage.
izing wage, lower tablishm ent, years.
ed) secs.
may recover
10022Athan e sta b lis h e d laundry, ho­
back wages
minimum. Appren­ tel, r e s ta u ­
and costs.
tices: In d u s tria l rant, or pack­
commissioner must ing house.
be notified of each
apprentice and give
permission for his
A c ts of Women; Women physically O ccupations, Industrial com­ At discretion of Commission calls wage Payment of less Amount must
U tah...
1933, ch. m i n o r s defective by age or trades, a n d mission of 3 commission. In­ board composed of t h a n fixed be adequate
(either sex otherwise may be industries in members, ap­ vestigation con­ equal number of rep­ m i n i m u m to supply to
under 21 granted special li­ which women pointed b y ducted by ex­ resentatives of em­ wage or re­ w om en and
y e a rs of cense. License must and minors governor for 4 amining papers, ployers and employees fusal to com­ m in o rs the
age, b u t be renewed every 6 are employed. years.
books, witnesses, m trade in question, ply with pro­ cost of proper
and by holding with a representative visions of law living, and to
c o m m is ­ months. Appren­
public hearings. of commission as chair­ a m i s d e ­ maintain the
sion n o t tices: Special wages
authorized set by commission
man. Board investi­ meanor. Em­ health a n d
to fix period of apprentice­
d u rin g specified
gates and reports to ployee may re­ we lfa re of
commission, w h i c h cover b a c k such workers.
wages and ship.
fixes minimum wage wages a n d
after public hearing.
hours for
males be­
tween 18
and 21).


T a b le



Occupations or

Body empow­
ered to admin­
ister law

Method of select­
ing occupation
or industry to
be considered by
this body

Method of arriving at
wage awards

Means provided Principles by
for securing which amount
enforcement of of award is

Reming- W o m e n ; Women physically de­ Occupations, Industrial wel­ At discretion of Commission organizes P a y m e n t of Amount must o n ' s m i n o r s fective or crippled trades, and in­ fare commit­ commission. In­ conference composed wages l e s s be a reason
tee, composed vestigation con­ of equal number of than standard able wage, not
(either sex by age or otherwise dustries.
of director of ducted by ex­ representatives of em­ minimum or detrimental
S t a t s . under 18 (or apprentices in oc­
labor and in­ amining papers, ployers and employees refusal to com­ to health and
19 3 1, y e a r s of cupation usually redustries ap­ books.witnesses, in occupation in ques­ ply with law a morals a n d
requiring such) may
s e c s . age).
pointed b y and by holding tion and 1 or more misdemeanor. sufficient for
secure l i c e n s e
7 6 2 3governor with public hearings. representatives of E m p l o y e e decent main­
authorizing w a g e
public (but no more may recover t e n a n c e of
c o n s e n t of
lower than legal
representatives of back w a g e s women.
senate a n d
public than in either and costs.
holding office
one of th e othe r
at his pleasure,
groups), and a mem­
supervisor of
ber of commission.
industrial in­
Conf er en ce recom­
sur ance and
mends m i n i m u m
supervisor of
wage, which commis­
industrial re­
sion may accept or
lations a p - ji
pointed b y
d i r e c t o r of
labor and in­
dustries, and
supervisor of
women in in­
dustry a p pointed b y
supervisor of
industrial rela­
tions with ap­
proval of di­
rector of labor
and industries.




9a.—Principal provisions of minimum wage laws in effect in 1988—Continued


8 tat., 1931,
secs. 104.01-104.125.

Adult women unable Every person in Industrial com­ At discretion of Commission organizes Payment of Amount must
to earn minimum receipt of, or mission whose commission or advisory wage board, wages in viola­ be a “ living
may obtain license entitled to,any members are on verified com­ selected to represent tion of any wage", i.e.,
fixing lower wage. compensation appointed by plaint filed by fairly employers, em­ order of com- sufficient t o
Employers may ob­ for labor per­ G o v e r n o r , any person.
ployees, and public. m i s s i o n maintain em­
tain license to pay formed for any w i t h advice
Living wage deter­ deemed viola­ ployee under
adult females wage employer.
and consent of
mined by commission tion of law, c o n d i t i o n s
lower than estab­
and advisory board unless it can c o n s i s t e n t
senate, for6
lished rate, if he es­
shall be the legal min­ be proved that with his wel­
tablishes satisfactor­
the order was fare. Wage
imum wage.
ily that he is unable
unreasonable. must not be
to pay such wage.
Every day an oppressive(deMinors unable to
order is not fined as “low­
earn “ a living wage"
complied with er than a rea­
may obtain license
is a separate sonable and
adequate com­
fixing lower wage.
pensation for
services ren­




Old-Age Pension Legislation in the United States

Legislation for the protection of the aged reached its greatest
development thus far in the United States during the current year,
as the half-way mark was reached and passed in the number of
States establishing a system of old-age pensions. Ten States (Ari­
zona, Arkansas,16 Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska,
North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington) and the Territory of
Hawaii passed laws establishing such a system, while other States
made amendments to existing laws. This brings the total number of
States having an old-age pension system to 26, not including the
Territories of Alaska and Hawaii.16
A survey17 made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of State old-age
pension systems in operation in 1932 shows that:
As compared with 1931, the year 1932 showed an increase in pen­
sioners of nearly 35 percent and in amount disbursed of nearly 40
percent. How much of this was normal increase and how much due
to the unusual economic conditions it is impossible to determine.18
The average monthly pension in 1932 was $19.38 as compared
with $18.89 in 1931. In no State did the average pension granted
equal the maximum allowable under the law.
The cost of the pension system per inhabitant in 1932 averaged 77
cents, ranging from 4 cents in Maryland to $1.23 in New York. For
1931 the average cost, all States combined, was 64 cents, and the range
was from 6 cents in Maryland to 95 cents in New York.
The weakness of the optional laws putting the whole cost upon the
individual counties was again brought out by the study. In Ken­
tucky, Nevada, and West Virginia, which have laws of this type, the
system is either nonexistent or practically so, the widest extension
under voluntary legislation being found in Montana where the law
has been in force since 1923 and where now 81 percent of the popula­
tion is in counties which have adopted the plan. The practical
effectiveness of the mandatory acts is demonstrated by the fact that
the coverage (i.e., percent of population in counties with system) in
the optional States is slightly over 28 percent as compared with over
91 percent in the mandatory States, and the latter figure has been
kept down by the delay in putting the mandatory law into effect in
Colorado occasioned by the contest over the constitutionality of the
15 The Arkansas law has been declared unconstitutional by the supreme court of the State because of the
method used in financing the pension fund.
16 The total 26 includes Arkansas which law was declared unconstitutional because of the 1 percent tax
on the State and county expenditures. It*also includes Colorado which law was declaied unconstitutional,
but was superseded by a new law enacted during 1933.
17 See Monthly Labor Review, August 1933.
18 The New York official in charge of the old-age pensions estimates, however, that approximately one
third of the grants would have been unnecessary had it not been for the depression.




T a b l e 10.— Cost of old-age pensions in specified States, 1981 and 1982


Percent pensioners
Average annual
form of total Annual a m o u n t cost per capita
p o p u l a t io n in d i s b u r s e d per of p o p u l a t io n ,
c ount ie s with pensioner2
in counties with
system 8

California____________ _ _ _ _ ____
Maryland__________ ________________
Massachusetts____________ ___________
Minnesota.................................. ....................
New Hampshire______________________
New Jersey__________________________
New York___________________________
Wisconsin, T „- , - - Wyoming____________________________

. 15




0.22 $248.81 $255.93
88.94 119.69
.02 4 333.33 262.41
.40 163.41 143.28
76.67 141.59
.29 158.35 146.17
.57 216.47 173.33
.19 110.35 131.66
.43 255.33* 285.21
.29 109.76
.18 177.74 189.56
69.16 132.53
.39 227.42 232.55



1 Based on counties reporting number of pensioners.
2In counties reporting both number of pensioners and amount disbursed.
3 Based on connties reporting amount spent.
4 Approximate, on basis of total amount appropriated for pensions.
3 Figured on annual basis, although pensions were paid only during last half of 1932.

The 11 laws enacted during the current year were mandatory,
indicating that the optional laws have not proven successful.
To provide a ready comparison of the systems adopted by the
various States to meet this problem of caring for the aged residents
the following table has been prepared which presents the main features
of each law.

T a ble

11.— Provisions of old-age pension laws in the United States

Required period of—

Age Maximum pension


$25 a month..
$15 a month. .
$25 a month..


$180 a year.
$250 a year.
$1 a day___



No limit.



$30 a month..
$1 a day........


Montana................ L 70 $25 a month


Administered by-

Funds provided by-



Yas Yas Yas
e r e r er
(3) Since
[ for females.
70 $30 a month.............. (3)
$1 a day..

165 [$35 a month for
males, $45 a month

Maximum property

Board of trustees of
A l a s k a Pioneers’
County commissioners..
County judge..................
County or city and
county boards of su­
County commissioners..
Assets, $2,000..
State old-age welfare
County commissioners..
Income, $300 a year.
County probate judge
---- do.........................
and county commis­
Assets, $1,000.................. County commissioners .
Income, $400 a year; County judge.................
assets, $2,500.
Income, $300 a year___ Town and city old-age
pension boards, under
supervision of depart­
ment of health and
County commissioners..
County or city board of
public welfare.
Assets, $3,500..
County board and State
welfare department.
Assets, $3,000..
County commissioners..
N o o t h e r sufficient
means of support.
Income, $300 a year........
Assets, $500.. Assets, $3,000..

Income, $300 a year.



Acts of 1929, ch. 65.

67 percent by State; 33
percent by county.
State and county............
Half by county, or city
and county; half by
County or city and

Acts of 1933, ch. 34.
Acts of 1933, act 271.
Acts of 1929, ch. 530 (as
a m e n d e d 1931, ch.
608; 1933, ch. 840.)
Acts of 1933, ch. 144.
Acts of 1931, ch. 85.
Acts of 1933, ch. 208.
Acts of 1931, ch. 16.

Half by State; half by Acts of 1933, ch. 36.
County............................ Acts of 1926, ch. 1r
Half by State; half by Acts of 1933, ch. 267.
cities, towns, and
County, or city of Balti­
Two thirds by county or
city; one third by
Payments by county.
Cities, towns, and vil­
lages to reimburse

Acts of 1931, ch. 114.
Acts of 1930, ch. 402.
Acts of 1933, ch. —.
Acts of 1929, ch. 47, (as
amended 1931, chs. 72
and 138; 1933 ch. 348.)
Acts Of 1923, ch. 72.


Citizen­ Residence

$20 a month.
$1 a day.......
$7.50 a week

New Jersey.
New Y o rk -

$1 a day.......
No lim it___

North Dakota .
West Virginia. _


___ do..............
Assets, $3,000..
15 Assets, $2,000..



1 Assets, $3,000.................
1 Wholly unable to sup­
port self.

$150a year..
$30 a month.
$25 a month.
$30 a month
$1 a day.......




65 $30 a month..



5 Income, $360.


Income, $150 a year........
Assets, $3,000...................
Income during past year,
Income during past
year, $360.
Any property or income.
Assets, $3,000___ _____


-----do.............. ................
Payments by county.
Cities and towns to
reimburse county.
County welfare board... One fourth by county,
three fourths by State.
Public welfare officials, Half by city or county;
under supervision of half by State.
department of social
County commissioners.. State....
-----do................................ County.
— .do........................— . ___ do—
County court.
-----do............ ..................
County judge.
Payments by county.
State to refund one
third; city, town, and
village to refund two
County commissioners.. County............................

Acts of 1933, ch. 117.
Acts of 1925, ch. 121.
Acts of 1931. ch. 165.
Acts of 1931, ch. 219
Acts of 1930, ch. 387.
Acts of 1933, ch. 254.
Acts of 1933, ch. 284.
Acts of 1929, ch. 76.
Acts of 1933, ch. 29.
Acts of 1931, ch. 32.
Acts of 1925, ch. 121, (as
a m e n d e d 1929, ch.
181; 1931, ch. 239.)
Acts of 1929, ch. 87.

1 Males.
* Females.
3 Citizenship required but no period specified.
* Arkansas law has been declared unconstitutional by the State supreme court.
5 Pension fund to be prorated equally among the pensioners. No definite amount stated.
6 Required period of residence in United States.
7 But old-page pension fund was created from proceeds of State tax on horse racing, to be distributed to counties in proportion to assessed valuation of the property in each. (Acts
of 1933, ch. 55.}


New Hampshire..


Rehabilitation of the Handicapped—State and Federal

The more humane and responsible attitude toward injured workers
embodied in the workmen’s compensation laws and the successful
rehabilitation activities in connection with the wounded soldiers are
doubtless jointly responsible for the extension of the idea of retraining
injured industrial workers for a resumption of self-supporting and
self-respecting employment. At this date all but three of the States 19
have accepted the provisions of the Federal Vocational Rehabilitation
Act of June 2,4920.
T a b l e 12.— Provisions of State legislation as to rehabilitation of the handicapped


Date of ac­
ceptance of
Federal act
by State *


Special pro­
visions for
under State
tion law

with State
tion com­
mission *

zation of
gifts and Citation

Oct. 2,1920 Civilian rehabilita­

tion service under
board ofeducation. No compen­ No compen­
May 25,1925 State vocational sation law.
sation law. No..
educational board.


Aug. 16,1920 State board of vo­


Apr. 16,1925 State commissioner
of education is
director of voca­
tional rehabilita­

cational educa­
South Carolina__ Mar. 14,1927 ___do.................... No compen­ No compen­ N o..
sation law. sation law.
Yes............... Yes.

Acts of
no. 86.
Acts of
No. 18
(p. 569).
Acts of
p. 279.
Acts of
no. 130,

1 Acceptance enables a State to provide for all types of disabled persons and for the following services:
Rehabilitation provides (1) administration, (2) training costs, (3) instructional supplies and equipment,
(4) artificial appliances, (5) travel of rehabilitants.
2 Independent action in addition to cooperative action is not provided for in any of these States.
3 In 1923 the Tennessee Legislature passed an act (ch. 74. Acts of 1923) withdrawing its acceptance of th«
Federal act in 1921. No further action was taken until the present law was adopted in 1925.
i# Vermont, Delaware, and Kansas.

Unemployment Insurance

On January 28, 1932, the first unemployment insurance law20
adopted by any State in the Union was approved by the Governor of
Wisconsin, and constitutes chapter 20, Wisconsin Special Session
Laws of 1931.
The Wisconsin Legislature, by the enactment of the law, intended
to make certain that by July 1, 1933, a majority of the employees
working for industrial companies in the State would have some
adequate system of unemployment compensation. Before June 1,
1933, therefore, it became incumbent upon the employers of at least
175,000 employees to establish voluntarily some unemployment
insurance plan which meets the standards prescribed by the act;
otherwise the act would automatically become compulsory on July
1, 1933. The effective date of this act, however, was indefinitely
postponed by the 1933 session of the State legislature. (Ch. 186,
Acts of 1933.) Proposed voluntary plans may be submitted to the
Wisconsin Industrial Commission for its written approval.
It is estimated that approximately 29 State legislatures investigated
the question of unemployment insurance during the sessions of the
State legislatures convening during the current year. The proposals
for unemployment insurance followed two general schemes. These
two schemes are based upon the idea that either the employers
should create a reserve for the purpose of stabilizing employment, or
that unemployment is insurable and protection for the worker in the
form of insurance should be provided.21
The plan proposed by the Ohio Commission on Unemployment
Insurance, commonly called the “Ohio plan,” is based on the insur­
ance idea and includes actuarial tables on the cost and distribution
of risks. According to the provisions of this plan all reserves are to
be pooled in a State-wide fund which distributes the risk and protects
the unfortunate. Contributions, according to the Ohio plan, are to
be made by the worker as wrell as by the employer, and provision is
made for more adequate benefits.
The other plan, usually referred to as the “Massachusetts plan,” is
in line with the idea set forth in the Wisconsin law, that of creating a
reserve fund. Contributions are made by the employer and are kept
in a separate fund for each company. Any employer may substitute
a private plan of his owrn so long as it meets the approval of the proper
authorities. Contributions are made by the employer until the fund
reaches a certain average for each employee, usually $50, after which
the contributions are greatly reduced.

20 For analysis of this law see Monthly Labor Review', March 1932, p. 540; July 1933, p. 35.
21 According to a study recently made by Dr. Karl T. Compton there are “ two rather distinct philoso­
phies underlying these plans, that of unemployment insurance and that of unemployment reserves/’ See
American Labor Legislation Review, June 1933: “ Massachusetts plan for unemployment reserves,”
by Dr. Karl T. Compton.


Wage Claim Collection

No table on this subject has been prepared. Various laws pertain­
ing to the general subject of wage claims are set forth in the Bureau
bulletins on labor legislation. The following article on this subject
appeared in the Monthly Labor Review (October 1933) and gives
complete information on the wage claim collection work of the State
labor departments.
Work of State Labor Offices in Behalf of Wage Claimants
Some idea of the extent to which working people are victims of the
failure of employers to pay wages earned is disclosed by a survey
recently completed by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.22
Twenty States (including Philippine Islands and Puerto Rico) re­
ported handling 69,921 claims in 1932. In 16 of these States a settle­
ment was effected in 34,063 cases. The total amount collected,in 1932,
in the 20 States for which data are available was $1,445,544. Cali­
fornia (which has a very effective law) accounted for by far the
largest number of claims settled (16,517) and the largest amount of
money collected ($775,254). New York came next with 7,332 cases
settled and collections amounting to $202,638.
Although the average claim is small—$41 in the 16 States reporting
both number of cases settled and amount obtained—failure to receive
compensation even in so small an amount often represents real hard­
ship to the worker involved.
While financial reverses or other conditions incident to the depres­
sion were responsible for numerous complaints of nonpayment, the
most common causes of failure to pay reported were: (1) Lack of
understanding or disagreement as to rates of pay; (2) insufficient
capital or insolvency of the employer; and (3) bad faith on the part of
the employer.
The depression not only has increased the volume of wage-collection
cases, many States report, but has made their collection more difficult.
In other States, because of the decreased employment and stagnation
of business, claims have fallen off in number.
The need for the enactment of adequate and forceful legislation in
States at present without any laws on the subject, and the strength­
ening of the acts in those in which legislative action has already been
taken, is apparent from the reports received.
There are comparatively few States having laws giving specific and
adequate wage-collection power to some State agency. Some form
of legislation regulating the payment of wages is fairly general through­
out the United States and some of these acts are so phrased as
to allow the collection of wages by State officials. In several cases
the officials report that they have assumed an authority not specifi­
cally covered by law or granted only by implication.
The usual procedure is to try first to effect a voluntary settlement.
Inasmuch as many of the labor officials have, as already stated, no
real authority or are, as one report put it, operating under laws with
no “teeth” in them, it is generally only as a last resort that recourse
is taken to court action to compel payment.

23 This is the fourth such study, the three earlier studies having been made in 1920, 1926, and 1929. For
reports of the earlier studies see Montlhy Labor Review, March 1921, June 1927, and October 1930.




The table following shows the claims handled and settled and the
amounts collected in 1932 and. the previous years for which the Bu­
reau has data:
T a b l e 1 3 .— Wage claims settled and amounts collected 1920, 1926, 1929, and 4.982,
reported by State labor offices

Number of wage claims
State labor office of—

Arizona......... ...............................
Arkansas- . ....
Minnesota.................. .................
Nevada........... ......... ..................
New Jersey.................................
New Y ork............................... _.
Puerto Rico....................... .........
Texas.................. . ........................
Wisconsin.......... ..........................
Wyoming.......................... ......


1929 1

1932 2

mitted Claims mitted Claims mitted Claims mitted Claims
settled or settled
7,603 5,362
1,326 1,193




276 2,450 1,127
28,419 17,966 35,400 16,517
471 1,116
2,501 1,688 4 2,405 s 1,675
6 256 # 102
1,783 1,160 2,805
5 753
2,860 2,242 9,591 7,332
488 1,334
842 2,195 1,260
405 1,071
3,731 1,410 1,973
* 2,197
157 (&

Amounts collected
State labor office of—



1929 1

1932 2

Total age per Total age per Total age per Total age per

Arizona................................. .....
$1,866 $16.96 $14,096 $51.07 $56,516 $50.15
Arkansas...................................... (3)
4,021 27.54
4,829 23.22 3,578 22.65
California________________ $206,389 $38.49 976,368 i° 60.57 1,051,925 58.55 775,254 46.94
Colorado........................................ 33,642 36. 77 13,896 26.47 10,821 22.97 12,063 22.30
Massachusetts__________ ____ 5,749 16.71 28,705 14. 74 54.J629 32.36 49,768 »i 29.71
1,380 13. 53
Nevada........................................ 7,500 125.00 12,784 168.21 ? 11,746 61.18 26,947 55.22
New Jersey_________________
90 15.00 10,863 u 31.04 24,252 20.91 29,458 n 39.12
New York.....................................
31,169 31.01 57,969 25.86 202,638 (12)
Oklahoma...................................... 24,850 20.83 7 3,120 7 97.49 10,490
Oregon........................................... 23,781 41.58 20,147 46.16 16,392 33.59 24,293 31.88
Puerto Rico.................................. 1,254 16.29 12,052 22.24 14,459 17.17 16,569 13.15
32,257 79.65 90,202 115.35
U tah.. ...............................
12,377 50.52 13,206 46.17 18,014 64.34
Washington............................... 87,873 67.72 73,584 62.89 67,290 47.72 45,244 46.45
35,276 37.37
Wyoming...................................... 15,204 40.76
8,594 49.39
5,748. 36.61 (9)
i Fiscal or calendar year. Arkansas, Maine, and Puerto Rico, however, reported for fiscal year 1929-30
and Utah for 1927-28.
* Fiscal or calendar year, the latter in the majority of cases. Nevada report covers 18 months. Texas
figure is an average based on biennial record.
3 No department of labor in 1920.
4 Claims investigated.
5 Claims paid.
« Claims of women and minor males, exclusive of claims under minimum wage law.
7 Not including cases handled by telephone.
* Includes some claims other than those for wages.
«Not known.
10 Includes also amounts collected in part payment of claims still pending.
11 Based on claims paid.
12 Not reported.



In addition to the statistics included in the preceding table the
following data for 1932 were furnished by the labor offices indicated:
The Connecticut Department of Labor handled 393 cases involving
claims amounting to $32,488. The labor department of the Kansas
Industrial Commission handled 94 claims and collected $3,736.
The number of claims submitted to the Michigan Department of
Labor and Industry was 3,758 and the amount of wages collected
$32,308. The New Mexico State Labor and Industrial Commission
collected $13,032 23 in wages but did not report on the number of
claims handled or settled. The Philippine Bureau of Labor reported
for the calendar year 1932, 919 wage claims handled, of which 368 were
settled in favor of the workers, the amount* collected being 14,858
pesos ($7,429).
The Department of Labor of Illinois reports that wage claims com­
ing to its attention are referred to private legal aid associations. The
Iowa Bureau of Labor states that it has no authority for the collection
of wage claims but has always made it a practice of advising claimants
and daily directs cases to the Des Moines municipal court, which
functions as a small-claims court. In cases outside the city each
claimant is instructed as to his rights and the methods to follow.
Many times, however, the claimants are not financially able to prose­
cute or they may not have the means to remain in the immediate
vicinity long enough to have their cases determined. The Louisiana
Department of Labor and Industrial Statistics appeals to employers
to adjust claims and when unsuccessful refers cases to some attorney
or member of the legal aid society or lets the claimant select his own
law7yer. The Nebraska Department of Labor uses moral suasion to
get employers to meet their obligations to their workers.
Wage claims are sometimes collected by the Department of Labor
of Tennessee, but no data were supplied as to work done along this
line in 1932.
The replies from the labor offices of the following States indicated
that no wage claims were handled by them in the fiscal or calendar
year 1932: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland,
Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North
Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont,
Virginia, and West Virginia. While some wage claims were formerly
handled by the Maine Department of Labor and Industry, the
attorney general has ruled that wages cannot be collected under the
law providing for the weekly payment of wages. For the past 3
years the Montana Department of Agriculture, Labor, and Industry
has received hundreds of wage claims, all of which it was compelled
to turn aside, because under the State labor laws it was powerless to
render any assistance whatsoever.
The Labor and Industrial Inspection Department of Missouri
reported that it was not possible to answer the questionnaire because
that office was in process of reorganization under a new administration.
The Labor Commission of Delaware did not answer the inquiry of the
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the duties of that com­
mission have to do mainly with the protection of woman and child
*Not clear whether 1932 was the year covered.



While no direct report was received from the Pennsylvania Depart­
ment of Labor and Industry, in the November 1932 issue of Labor
and Industry, monthly bulletin of that department, it is stated that
workers who had not been paid wages due them had been deluging
the department with complaints. “In the first part of 1932 these
claims were at the rate of $114,600 a year. In the latter part of this
year they are coming in at the rate of $300,000 a year. ” According
to the same source, the only effective procedure for unpaid workers in
Pennsylvania is to enter civil suit; in most of the cases submitted to
the department, however, the wage claimants have not enough money
to do this.
No questionnaire was sent to Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho,
as the character or status of their present State-offices indicates that
they are not engaged in the special activity covered by the study.
Legal Authorization for the Handling of Wage Claims

Arizona.—The Arizona Industrial Commission, in handling wage
-elaims, has recourse to section 4877 of the Revised Code of Arizona,
1928 (p. 1103), providing that “whenever an employee quits the
service or is discharged therefrom, he shall be paid whatever wages
are due him, in lawful money of the United States, or by check of
even date. * * * Any person violating this section shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor. ”
Arkansas.—'The Bureau of Labor Statistics of Arkansas does its
wage-collection work under an “act regulating the payment of wages
earned and defining the duties of the commissioner of labor therein. ”
This law (Acts of 1923, no. 380) provides that “if either employer or
employee shall fail to accept the findings of the commissioner, then
either shall have the right to proceed at law * * *. ” When a
wage claim is not over $200 and the claimant files with the commis­
sioner a verified petition that his assets, in addition to the wearing
apparel and household goods of himself and family, do not exceed
$25, the commissioner may institute court action without giving bond
for costs.
California.—The labor commissioner of California and his duly
authorized representatives are empowered under section 7 of the
State wage collection law 24 to take assignments of wage claims and
to prosecute actions for the collection of wages, penalties, etc., of
persons financially unable to employ counsel in cases in which, in
the judgment of the proper labor official, the wage claims are valid
and enforceable in the courts; to issue subpenas to compel the pro­
duction of papers and records, to administer oaths, to examine
witnesses under oaths; and to take depositions and affidavits in order
to carry out the provisions of the act.
Colorado.—According to the Colorado Bureau of Labor Statistics,
that agency has no direct legal power to handle wage claims. Its
activities in this respect are purely voluntary.
Connecticut.—The Department of Labor of Connecticut, in
handling wage claims, utilizes section 5205 (Acts of 1919, ch. 216) of
the General Statutes, which provides that wages be paid weekly.
24 Acts of 1883, ch. 21, as amended by acts of 1919, ch. 228; 1923, ch. 257; 1929, ch. 231 and 1931, ch. 824.



Iowa.—The labor commissioner of Iowa reports that his bureau is
not authorized to collect wage claims but has always made it a prac­
tice to inform claimants as to the procedure open to them.
Kansas.—The labor department of the Commission of Labor and
Industry of Kansas states that there is no provision giving that
department jurisdiction over wage collections. “Sections 44-301 to
44-312 of the 1931 supplement govern the payment of wages.”
Although the commission is without authority to prosecute, its
annual report for 1932 shows that it used its influence successfully
in numerous instances in collecting labor debts.
Louisiana.—The Louisiana Department of Labor and Industrial
Statistics, having no legal authority to collect wage claims, acts
“purely in a cooperative manner.”
Maine.—The commissioner of labor of Maine writes that there is
a State law requiring the weekly payment of wages but the State
attorney general has ruled that wages cannot be collected under that
Massachusetts.—The Massachusetts Department of Labor and
Industry “is not vested with authority to collect wages and is not
set up under the statute as an agency for this purpose.”
The criminal statute in Massachusetts affecting violation of the weekly pay­
ment law, however, in its operation stimulates the payment of wages by em­
ployers who are neglectful in their attitude toward the statute. It is better to
pay the wages when such an employer receives notice from the department of
complaint for violation of the law rather than to face court action with a possi­
bility of receiving a criminal record and having to pay a heavy fine. This
process is often confused with the practice of collecting wages, a function not
included in the jurisdiction of the department.

Michigan.—The Department of Labor and Industry of Michigan
handles wage claims under act no. 62 of the public acts of 1925.
Minnesota.—The division of women and children of the Minnesota
Industrial Commission takes up wage claims under section 4050 of
the General Laws, 1923, which provides that “The bureau of women
and children shall have power to enforce and cause to be enforced,
by complaint in any court or otherwise, all laws and local ordinances,
relating to the health, morals, comfort, and general welfare of women
and children.”
Nevada.—The labor commissioner of Nevada collects claims under
the provisions of section 2751 of the Nevada Compiled Laws of 1929,
as amended by acts of 1931, chapter 46.
New Jersey.—The authority under which the New Jersey Depart­
ment of Lfbor acts on behalf of wage earners dates back to 1899
(acts of 1899, ch. 38, as amended by acts of 1932, ch. 249) and reads
as follows:
Every person, firm, association, or partnership doing business in this State,
and every corporation * * * shall pay at least every 2 weeks, in lawful
money of the United States, to each and every employee engaged in his, their,
or its business, * * * the full amount of wages earned and unpaid in lawful
money to such employee, up to within 12 days of such payment; * * * any
employer or employers as aforesaid who shall violate any of the provisions of
this section shall, for the first offense, be liable to a penalty of $50, and for the
second and each subsequent offense to a penalty of $100, to be recovered by and
in the name of the department of labor of this State. On failure to pay the
fine imposed, jail sentence up to 200 days shall be imposed.

New Mexico.— An act of 1931 (ch. 9, sec. 7) authorizes the New
Mexico Labor and Industrial Commission to take assignment of wage



claims and prosecute action for the collection of wages for persons
financially unable to employ counsel.
New York.—The Department of Labor of New York handles wage
claims under section 211 of the labor law, which provides that “the
commissioner shall cooperate with any person having a just claim
against his employer.” Sections 195 and 196 of the same law set
forth the methods and manner in which a corporation shall pay wages
and section 197 prohibits a corporation from making any deduction
from the wages of its employees. Section 39 empowers the commis­
sioner to subpena and examine witnesses and records.
Oklahoma.—Although the Department of Labor of Oklahoma is not
legally authorized to collect or force settlement of wage claims, it is
instrumental in adjusting such disputes. It does not handle the
money, that being paid by the employers directly to the claimants
Oregon.—Previous to 1933 the Oregon Bureau of Labor had little
authority for the collection of wages, which was carried on principally
through conciliation. A law passed at the 1933 session of the legis­
lature, however, empowered the commissioner of that bureau to in­
vestigate and attempt to adjust equitably controversies concerning
wage claims; to take assignments of such claims in trust for assigning
employees; and to make complaint in a criminal court for the viola­
tion of the provisions of any law that provides for the payment of
wages and imposes a penalty for its violation as for a crime.
The 1933 act also creates a contingent fund “for the purpose of
paying expenses and costs of the commissioner’s proceedings” under
the act.
Philippine Islands.—The Philippine Bureau of Labor handles wage
claims under articles 1583, 1584 (as amended by Act 3600), 1585,
and 1586 of the Civil Code, and article 302 of the Code of Commerce.
Puerto Rico.—The Department of Labor of Puerto Rico quotes the
following provision (acts of 1931, p. 182) as the authorization for its
wage-collection work.
S e c t i o n 20. The wage protection and claim bureau shall consist of a person
in charge thereof, who shall be a competent attorney at law and a man of integrity,
who shall receive, study, and decide all complaints and claims filed by laborers or
employees, including domestics, against employers negligent in the payment of
their compensations, per diems, wages, or salaries, or who have refused to make
such payments. He shall prosecute such complaints and claims and shall insti­
tute proceedings, either civil or criminal, as the case may be, against said employ­
ers, where such procedure is necessary; he shall interpret and supervise wage or
metayer labor contracts, and he shall act as a special prosecuting attorney in any
criminal action that may be brought before the municipal courts of Puerto Rico
by the commissioner, by the district agents, or by any other official of the depart­
ment of labor, in case of violation of labor-protecting laws, and of all such legis­
lation whose enforcement may have been entrusted to the department of labor.
The commissioner of labor shall assign to this bureau such personnel as he may
deem necessary to render this service.

Tennessee.—The Department of Labor of Tennessee sometimes
assumes authority to aid in the collection of wage claims, under the
provisions of the semimonthly pay day law (Thompson’s Shannon’s
Code, 1918, secs. 4339 to 4342a-2a5). The representative of the
department giving this information adds: “However, we are con­
vinced that if this authority was assailed in court it could not legally
stand a test.”



Texas.—The Bureau of Labor of Texas reports that that State has
no direct wage claim law; but with recourse to the semimonthly pay
day law (acts of 1915, ch. 25), that office effects settlements without
court procedure, as frequently employers would rather pay than be
Utah.—The Industrial Commission of Utah has a wage-collection
department which operates under section 3076 of the Compiled Laws,
1917 (as amended by acts of 1921, ch. 67). This act defines the
regular powers of the commission and reads: “It shall also be the
duty of the commission and it shall have full power, jurisdiction, and
authority: * * * 5. To do all in its power to promote voluntary
arbitration, mediation, and conciliation of disputes between employers
and employees.”
Washington.—The Washington Department of Labor and Indus­
tries writes that it draws its wage-collection powers from section
7594 of the labor laws of the State, which reads in part as follows:
“ * * * and when any laborer performing work or labor as above
shall cease to work, whether by discharge or by voluntary withdrawal,
the wages due shall be forthwith paid either in cash or by order
redeemable in cash at its face value * * *.”
Wisconsin.—For many years Wisconsin has had a law providing
for the semimonthly payment of wages, with certain exceptions (Wis.
Stats., 1929, sec. 103.39), but the State industrial commission had no
authority of enforcement. An amendment, effective June 19, 1931,
makes it the duty of that body “ to enforce the wage law and provides
that in its discretion the commission may take appropriate action
for the collection of wage claims which it deems to be valid and which
do not exceed $100.”
Shortly after the new law became effective two Milwaukee courts
held it to be unconstitutional. These decisions, which were based
on the criminal provisions of the act, are in process of appeal to the
Supreme Court. Partly because of these unfavorable decisions and
partly because of the fact that the Jaw makes no specific provision for
paying costs and disbursements in cases in which there is no recovery,
the commission has been seriously hampered in trying to administer
the law.25
Wyoming.—The act which created the Wyoming Department of
Labor (Wyo. Rev. Stats. 1931, sec. 109-1204) provides that the “labor
commissioner shall see that workers are protected in the collection of
their wages lawfully due.” No legal means, however, are provided
for carrying out this provision.
The labor offices of the following States which reported no wage
collections for the fiscal or calendar year, 1932, also reported that
they had no legal authorization for such work: Florida, Illinois,
Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New
Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio (Pennsylvania ?),
Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and
West Virginia.
Practically all States, however, have some form of wage-payment
Procedure in Handling Claims

In labor offices which do not at once refer wage claims to other
agencies, the initial procedure in handling cases does not vary greatly
** Wisconsin. Industrial Commission. Biennial report. Madison, 1930-33, pp. 48-49.



from State to State.26 Claims filed are usually taken up by corre­
spondence, telephone, personal calls, conferences, etc. When cases
cannot be adjusted by these measures further steps are taken, some
of which are noted below.
The Arizona Department of Labor reports the holding of hearings
in some instances in which settlement cannot be effected by more
informal efforts, while in such cases the Arkansas Bureau of Labor
and Statistics brings suit under the wage payment law.
In California, if the employer disputes the claim, a joint hearing is
set at which both the employer and claimant are present, the employer
being allowed representation by counsel. After the hearing the depu­
ties decide whether the wages are due, and if so, the employer is
ordered to pay. If he is unable to do so immediately, he is given the
opportunity to pay in installments through the district offices of
the division of labor statistics and law enforcement, which forward the
amounts collected to the claimants. Recourse is had to civil actions
whenever conditions warrant such procedure.
The Connecticut Department of Labor frequently threatens prose­
cution when employers refuse to pay, but adds that it has “no real
authority, since prosecutors are unwilling to push these cases.”
In Massachusetts, when the employer fails to pay the wages claimed
promptly after the department of labor and industries has taken up
the case with him by correspondence, personal demand is made by a
special investigator of that office.
Refusal or failure to comply with the provision of the statute is then followed
by action in court. Here the rights of the employee are maintained without cost
of such action to him. Much time is occupied by clerks in settling conflicting
claims arising from disputes over the rates of wages. The interested parties, both
employer and workman, are frequently brought to the office and legal require­
ments of the weekly payment law made known to them. This practice usually
results in reaching an agreement and having wages paid. If it appears that the
case does not come within the scope of the criminal law and the remedy is in civil
action, the employee is advised accordingly. Employees affected by an abuse
of the trustee process or the assignment of wages are given individual attention
and the requirments of all the statutes in these matters are made known to them.
This service is of much practical assistance to wage earners. Through the branch
offices located in Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield, Lawrence, Fall River, and the
department headquarters in the State House this help is at the disposal of wage
earners in all sections of the State. To these offices attorneys send their clients
to whom small sums of money for wages are due.

Failing settlement through conciliatory methods, the procedure in
Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico is to start court
action against the employer, while in Minnesota and Utah the plain­
tiff is referred to other legal advisers. In New Mexico, in court cases
for the collection of wage claims, no attorney fees are charged but the
claimant pays court costs.
In the State of New York workers may file their wage claims not
only in the branch offices of the department of labor but also in many
county offices and with sheriffs and justices of the peace who are pro­
vided with the department’s printed forms. If no reply is received
to the department’s claim letter, a subpena is issued calling for a
hearing in the locality near the residence of the complainant and the
defendant. Hearings are held weekly in New York City because of
the many complaints filed in that city. The hearings in other parts

* In California,
may file wage claims.New Jersey, and New York there are various branch labor offices at which workers



of the State are held as soon as there are enough claims to warrant
such procedure. If, however, the complaint is serious and calls for
immediate attention, one of the department’s investigators is sent
to look into the matter. If the department finds that the labor law
has been violated prosecution is begun at once.
In Puerto Rico the majority of claims are settled administratively
by the wage protection and claim bureau of the department of labor
without judicial intervention. In case, however, payment is refused
after such administrative efforts, the attorney of the bureau takes the
claim before the court of competent jurisdiction under an act of No­
vember 14, 1917 “to determine the procedure in cases of claims for
wages by farm laborers against their employers.”
According to the chief inspector of the Tennessee Department of
Labor “in most instances it is necessary that the wage claimer resort
to an action in a justice of peace court in order legally to collect his
claims against an employer.”
In cases in which recourse to court procedure is necessary the
Texas Bureau of Labor Statistics assists claimants in handling liens
and prosecuting claims.
Although the Washington statutes provide for the creation of smallclaims departments in every justice district of the State, very few
have been created, and the wage-collection work therefore has de­
volved upon the department of labor and industries of the State.
A Wyoming law, approved February 4, 1933, provides for the
informal hearing of wage claimants before justices of peace wT the
claims do not exceed $50. A deposit of $1.50 is required from the
plaintiff in such cases.
In Wisconsin after the industrial commission has established the
validity of a wage claim by means of a hearing and is satisfied that
the employer is able to pay, and he still refuses to do so, the case is
turned over to the district attorney of the county in which the em­
ployer resides to take action.
If there is no dispute regarding the validity of the claim, and the excuse is
offered by the employer that he is financially unable to pay, no action is taken
against him by the commission until such time as it can satisfy itself that the
claim of inability is not justified. Unfortunately, such claims are justified in
altogether too many cases. If the commission is satisfied that the claim is valid
and that the employer is able to pay, the district attorney is requested to act.
In Milwaukee and adjacent territory the attorney in charge of this work can
take the claims into court himself and does do so. He may call upon the district
attorney for cooperation also. The plan outlined above is used for the State
outside of Milwaukee and adjacent territory.
Causes for Nonpayment of Wages

The most frequently reported causes for the nonpayment of wages
which led to the presentation of claims at State labor offices, according
to the latest survey, are the following:
1. Lack of understanding or disagreement as to rates of pay. (This
cause was reported by Arkansas, California, Colorado, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma,
Puerto Rico, Utah, and Wisconsin.)
2. Insufficient capital for business projects, financial reverses, or
insolvency. (Reported by Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico,
New York, Oregon, Philippine Islands, Washington, Wisconsin, and



3. Lack of principle on the part of employers. (Cited by the labor
offices of Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mon­
tana, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Philippine Islands,
Texas, and Washington.) The Connecticut Department of Labor
makes a “rough guess” that half of the cases it reports involve em­
ployers who are trying to take unfair advantage of the present
The Montana Department of Agriculture, Labor, and Industry
writes that laboring men are so anxious to secure jobs that they are
willing to work for very low wages. Certain companies have taken
advantage of this condition to hire men, work them “just as long as
they do not become too loud in their protest, and then discharge
them without paying them anything at all.”
Both the New York and Philippine labor officials emphasize as a
major cause of wage claims the unwillingness of unscrupulous em­
ployers to pay any wage at all, while the Texas Bureau of Labor
Statistics condemns the “villainous practice” of defrauding workers,
and the Washington Department of Labor and Industries cites
“ the unscrupulous emploj^er who has no intention of paying his
employees, the fly-by-night merchant and the ‘gypo’ contractor.”
On the other hand, while the Minnesota officials mention some cases
of fraud and those of Oregon some instances of unwillingness to pay,
these apparently form no considerable problem, and in Wisconsin in
only a small minority of claims was it found that the wage debt had
been incurred with dishonest motives on the part of the employer.
Among the other causes noted, most of which were those arising from
the depression, were low prices of farm products which made it
impossible for farmeis to pay their labor promptly (Arizona), crop
failures (California), bank failures (Nevada), and poor business
conditions (New York and Texas).
Effects of the Depression on the Handling of Wage Claims

The reports indicate that the number of wage claims handled by
State labor offices has increased, as an outcome of the depression,
in Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, New York,
Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Wyoming. In Puerto Rico the
increase has been especially noticeable in the wage claims of persons
employed in general housework, laundries, restaurants, hotels, home
building, and agriculture. The Nevada report notes a 100 percent
increase in the amount of claims filed. The Oklahoma Department
of Labor notes an increase in controversial claims, the workers being
so eager for employment that a large percentage of them fail to come
to an understanding as to what they are to be paid and are dis­
appointed when they do not receive more. Michigan also reports
that the average claim is smaller in amount. In New Jersey, on the
other hand, an increase in the average amount of claim is reported due
to the fact that the workers continue in their jobs even when they are
not paid. The New Jersey officials note an increase in the number
of bankruptcies; they attribute the rise in the number of claims to
the employers’ inability to meet their pay rolls, and state that in a
large number of such cases the evasion of payment is deliberately
planned. In New York the collection work has become somewhat
more difficult, but the officials report that the greater efforts neces­



sitated because of that fact have been attended with much success.
The increased difficulty of collecting wage claims is also stressed by
the Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming labor offices, the Wis­
consin Industrial Commission declaring that in many cases collection
is impossible.
In contrast to the above, some labor offices—among them Cali­
fornia, Colorado, New Mexico, Philippines, Utah, and Washington—
report a reduction in the number of wage claims as an effect of the
economic slump. In California, during the fiscal year 1931-32, the
number of wage claims filed decreased 5.5 percent, while the amount
of unpaid wages collected fell 25 percent, due in part to lower wages
and smaller claims. Although fewer claims have been filed in Col­
orado, there has been an increase in the number of long-standing
cases which should have been settled from 1 to 3 years ago. Increased
difficulty of collection was noted by the Arkansas, California, New
Mexico, and Utah officials.
The economic and banking conditions are cited by the Louisiana
report as having been used as excuses for not paying labor by some
employers who never thought before of not paying wages due and by
others who had never had a bank account. There are also numerous
employers who are anxious to pay their workers but who have had to
delay on account of the industrial situation.
The Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industries notes a
special type of complaint growing out of the depression, namely, that
against individuals who because of unemployment in their own trades
have ventured into business for themselves, taking small contracts,
particularly for road and bridge construction or for altering or repair­
ing buildings and other structures. Little or no capital and inade­
quate credit make it impossible for these people to pay their workers
The division of women and children of the Minnesota Industrial
Commission attributes to hard times the revival of old wage claims—
some so small that no attorney will take them, some so weak that the
conciliation court counsels against filing them. “Up to 1931 prac­
tically no wage-collection work was done by this office, all claimants
being sent to the bureau of legal aid or to the conciliation court for
advice. Because an unusual emergency exists this Department has
assumed some responsibility in aiding in the settlement of these wage
Recommendations of Labor Offices

The recommendations of various labor offices with reference to
improvements in the matter of collecting wage claims are given in
brief below. A considerable number of offices, however, made no
suggestions on this subject.
The State labor commissioner of Colorado considers it desirable that
he should be empowered to sue in court without expense to the claim­
ant, the State furnishing a public prosecutor and making an adequate
appropriation to carry out this procedure. He also suggests that it
would be well for other States to establish a similar system.
The Connecticut Department of Labor has already recommended
to the State legislature the enactment of a statute more comprehen­
sive than the one under which it is at present operating and which
would authorize the commissioner to bring a civil suit for the collection



of wages. The enactment, with one or two changes, of the “model
statute for facilitating enforcement of wage claims” 27 is advocated.
A very useful provision of such a statute would be the California requirement
that any employee shall be paid his average rate of wages for the period which
elapses between the time of withholding wages and their final payment. In
California the delinquent employer is subject thereby not only to the serious
penalty of the Criminal Law, but also the penalty of paying the worker for the
time he has to wait for his wages.2

The chief of the labor division of the Department of Industrial
Relations of Georgia advocates the establishment of a department for
the collection of wage claims.
In the latter part of 1932 the Illinois Department of Labor had
under consideration the question of submitting to the general assembly
a bill giving the department authority in wage-claim cases.
The Kansas statutes provide that the county commissioner of any
city may set up a debtors’ court for the collection of wage claims not
exceeding $20. The small number of these courts and the rigid
limitation on the amount of the claims have seriously restricted their
effectiveness. It is suggested in the 1932 report of the Coirirission of
Labor and Industry of Kansas that “each justice of the peace be
appointed judge of a small debtors’ court so that workers would have
a judge available in each community to assist them in the collection
of their labor debts.”
According to the Department of Labor and Industrial Statistics of
Louisiana, every State should empower its department of labor to
compel employers to pay wages, and a public defender should be
provided to enforce the law so that workers would not have to employ
attorneys to collect their earnings. “If wages earned are to be paid
to attorneys because of nonpayment, workers had just as well be
The Massachusetts Commissioner of Labor and Industries points
out that there is much to be done in perfecting the existing system for
the protection of workers against wage losses.

It would seem that the jurisdiction of the statute might well be made to cover
other fields beside industrial establishments. The worst type of offense occurs
in private domestic service. These are not covered by the Massachusetts law.
While it might not appear necessary to require the payment of wages weekly
to such employees, there should be some authority they could turn to for assist­
ance when they were not paid the wages which they had earned and have the
protection needed under these circumstances without personal expense. Types
of such cases include widowed women who are often compelled to do household
work to earn a living, and aged people who seek such employment as a means
for their support.
There should be interstate provision for the apprehension of employers who
fail to pay wages as required by law in the one State and escape into another
jurisdiction without discharging their obligations in this respect. While failure
to pay an employee the wages he has earned is classified as a misdemeanor, there
should be an arrangement by which States would cooperate in the enforcement
of wage-payment laws, as they now do in the case of felonies. The importance
of the laborer’s wage in his home and its relation to maintaining a family in a
normal manner justifies legislative action of this kind.

At the request of the Minnesota Industrial Commission, a bill was
introduced m the 1933 session of the State legislature to create a
new division in the commission, with an adequate appropriation; the

*7 This proposed measure may be found on page 54.
* Connecticut. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Report, 1930-32. New Haven,
1933, pp. 32-33.



duty of this division would be to advise wage claimants regarding
their legal rights and to assist them when necessary in civil actions
to recover wages due. The bill failed to come to a vote.
The labor commissioner of Montana reports that an unsuccessful
attempt was made in the recent legislature and in the preceding
legislatures to render it possible for the State department of agricul­
ture, labor, and industry to aid wage claimants.
The labor commissioner of Nevada expresses the belief that the laws
governing wage payments should be strengthened to provide more
drastic penalties for failure to meet pay rolls. He also advocates
the enactment of laws making mandatory the posting of a bond
guaranteeing a 30-day pay roll for the maximum number of workers,
in the case of a corporation without sufficient clear assets to cover
its pay rolls.
In the judgment of the New Jersey Department of Labor, additional
legislation should be enacted to facilitate the payment of wage
claims, especially to overcome the employer’s obvious defense that
the claimed wages are not due. This is a civil isssue requiring either
that the debt be assigned to the prosecuting authority, with adequate
legal aid to carry the case on through civil courts, or that the prose­
cuting agency be authorized to determine civil liability in such
controversies. The latter procedure has been proposed to the New
Jersey Legislature, to apply in wage cases involving up to $200; the
course of action in such cases would parallel that of the lowest civil
courts under the administration of justices of the peace. Another
provision included in the proposed legislation would give the depart­
ment authority to oblige litigants to appear and testify. This is a
great help toward the satisfactory adjustment of the controversy
and, furthermore, minimizes prosecutions in court. The depart­
ment points out that the situation is becoming worse as a result of
financial conditions, the destitution of the wage earners making ordi­
nary legal procedure impossible for them.
The New York Department of Labor recommends the passage of
legislation for the better protection of the workers of the State, for
1. To cause employers of labor to furnish a bond guaranteeing the payment of
wages or to show satisfactory evidence that such a bond is not necessary.
2. To cause a greater degree of liability to fall on the stockholders and officers
of a corporation than now exist.
3. To make it a criminal offense not to pay wages.
4. To consider the pilfering of an employee’s time in the same category as the
stealing of one’s property and to punish in the same manner.
5. To establish a miriimum wage law.

The commissioner of Oklahoma contends that the court method
of settling wage complaints “is too burdensome, long drawn out, and
very unsatisfactory.” Workers cannot afford expensive legal pro­
ceedings to secure the wages they have already earned. He favors
some simple, speedy, inexpensive system of arriving at the facts
regarding these wage claims and the enactment in every State of a
wage-coilection law modeled on the one in California. He also refers
to the Massachusetts and Nevada wage payment laws which seem
to him “very effective and desirable.”
The 1933 session of the Oregon Legislature passed a wage collection
law (acts of 1933, ch. 279) which the bureau of labor of that State



reports will be of considerable assistance to that office and to the
wage earners. The bureau declares: “We certainly have a weapon so
that the man who is able to pay can be forced to pay.”
In the latter part of November 1932 the Pennsylvania Department
of Labor and Industry was giving serious consideration to the working
out of the California wage collection law.29
In the annual report of the protection and claim bureau of the
Puerto Rico Department of Labor, 1931-32, recommendation is made
for various amendments to Law No. 40, 1917, under which wage
collection work is carried on. These proposed amendments include
provision for the inclusion of claims of employees and laborers illegally
discharged, for more rapid action in collecting claims, and for the
changing of section 10 to read as follows:
When a property subject to a share-cropping contract is sold, ceded, or leased
to another person or sold on public auction in a judicial proceeding, the cropper
may demand that he be permitted to harvest, the crop corresponding to the cur­
rent agricultural year, and the cropper may claim as his such work, plantings or
other things to which he may be entitled.

The chief inspector of the Department of Labor of Tennessee writes
that the experience of his office in dealing with the matter of wage
claims has led to the conviction that there is definite need for legisla­
tion in this connection.
The Texas Department of Labor “is fostering an amendment to
the semimonthly pay day law which provides a semimonthly pay
day for any employer employing one or more employees.” The
passage of this amendment will make it possible for the department
to function something like a small claims court. Under the existing
law, the semimonthly pay day act is applicable only when more than
10 persons are employed.
An adequate law under which the Utah industrial commissioner
would be able to collect unpaid wages for employees was introduced
in the 1931 legislature but was not passed.
The statute under which the Washington Department of Labor and
Industries handles wage claims is declared by the labor commissioner
of that State to have “no teeth in it.” The department has no en­
forcing power, which makes it impossible in a large number of cases
to secure for the claimants the wages due them. Adequate legislation
to remedy this evil is essential, and in several past sessions of the
legislature the department has endeavored without success to have
such a measure passed. The commissioner concludes that ‘‘California
having about the only real effective wage collection law (despite the
fact that other States, like our own, have attempted similar legislation
and have failed), it would appear that congressional action is about
the only remedy.”
The so-called “wage claim law” of Wisconsin, which became effec­
tive the latter part of June 1931, was a new departure for that State.
As noted above, the work of the commission has been very much ham­
pered by a court decision holding the penal provision of the act un­
constitutional. That body reports, however, that some worth-while
results have been obtained and that, as the weaknesses of the legisla­
tion are corrected in the light of experience, it may be hoped that a

29 Pennsylvania. Department of Labor and Industry. Labor and Industry. Harrisburg. November
1932, p. 1. *



system will be developed which will be of value to the small claimant
and involve no hardship for the employer.
According to the Department of Labor of Wyoming, that office
should be authorized to bring suit for wage claimants in worthy cases,
especially where it is evident that it was the motive of the employer
to defraud the wage earner. County attorneys should be at the
service of such claimants. “A continuous wage clause should obtain.”
Special Agencies for Handling Small Wage Claims

According to the reports received, each of the following States
has a small-claims court or system of courts: California, Colorado,
Connecticut, Iowa (municipal court in Des Moines), Kansas (a few
small debtors’ courts, limited to claims not exceeding $20), Maryland
(people’s court), Massachusetts, Minnesota (conciliation courts),
Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and South Dakota. Several labor
offices stated that small claims were also handled by justices of the
peace. In Arizona such officials handled claims involving amounts
up to $200, the cost of filing a claim under $50 being $1. In some
communities in Michigan justices of the peace have assumed respon­
sibility in small wage-claim cases.
The report of the standing committee on legal-aid work, submitted
to the American Bar Association at its annual meeting, Grand Rapids,
Mich., August 30-September 1, 1933, shows that in 1932 there were
73 legal-aid agencies, including public defenders, in 60 cities in 28
States and the District of Columbia.

While the findings of the investigation show that an increasing
amount of valuable work is being done by various State labor offices
in behalf of indigent wage claimants, the inquiry also discloses that
in many States much more might be accomplished along this line under
improved legislation. Indeed, this fourth survey of the United States
Bureau of Labor Statistics on the collection of small wage claims em­
phasizes anew the pronouncement made several years ago by the late
Chief Justice William H. Taft that “Something must be devised by
which everyone, however lowly and however poor, however unable by
his own means to employ a lawyer and to pay court costs, shall be
furnished the opportunity to set this fixed machinery of justice
going.” 30

Section 2. Any employer may designate regular pay days for employees or
any class or group of employees. Pay days so designated shall occur not less
often than_____ in each calendar month and at intervals of not more than---------days. In the absence of such designation, regular pay days shall fall on Friday
of each week. When any regular pay day falls on a holiday or a Sunday, it shall
shift to the next preceding business day. Every employer shall post and keep
posted at each regular place of business in a position or positions easily accessible
to all employees one or more notices on forms supplied from time to time by the
3»United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Bull. No. 398: Growth of legal aid work in the United
States. Washington, January 1926, p. III.
51 Alternative wordings are put in parentheses; tentative provisions, in brackets. Secs. 1 and il, which
are omitted, deal, respectively, with definition of terms and possible unconstitutionality of provisions. It
is proposed that a final section provide for repealing previous legislation.



commissioner containing (1) a copy or summary of the provisions of this act
(chapter, etc.), (2) a statement of the regular pay days, and (3) a statement of the
place or places and the time or times for payment of employees.

Sec. 3. Every employer shall pay employees as follows:

(а) On demand after a discharge or decrease of compensation has become
operative with respect to any employee such employer shall pay said employee in
full to the time of discharge or decrease of compensation.
(б) On each regular pay day such employer shall pay in full each employee
voluntarily leaving employment on or since the last preceding regular pay day.
(c) On each regular pay day such employer shall pay each other employee in
full for services rendered to within_____ working days of said pay day.
(d) If because of absence from the place of payment any employee is not paid
on any regular pay day the sums then payable under this section, he shall be
paid at any time thereafter on demand said sums, or he shall, if he so demands,
be paid said sums by mail, less the actual cost of transmission.
(e) The mailing of compensation in the medium described by section 1, para­
graph c, of this act (chapter, etc.) to an employee in time to reach his post-office
address by usual course of mail on the proper regular pay day shall be due com­
pliance with the requirements of this section.
None of the foregoing provisions shall make unlawful more frequent or earlier
payment of any employee. Violation of any of the foregoing provisions of this
section [shall give rise to a civil right of action on any resulting wage claim, and
violation of any of said provisions] or of any provision of the last sentence of
section 2 of this act (chapter, etc.) shall be a misdemeanor punishable on com­
plaint of the employee affected or of the commissioner as hereinafter provided.
Sec. 4. Any employer may not less th a n _____ days after the death of any
employee and before the filing of a petition (application, etc.) for letters testa­
mentary or of administration in respect of the decedent’s estate, make payment
of decedent’s compensation [if not in excess of the maximum amount of a wage
claim as above defined] to the wife, children, father or mother, brother or sister
of the decedent, giving preference in the foregoing order; or, if no such relatives
survive, may apply such payment or so much thereof as may be necessary to
paying creditors of the decedent in the order of preference prescribed for satis­
faction of debts by executors and administrators. The making or application of
payment in this manner shall be a discharge and release of the employer to the
amount thus paid or applied.
Sec. 5. Any employee may sue his employer on a wage claim without giving
security for payment of costs. In any such proceeding the court may allow the
prevailing party, in addition to all ordinary costs, a reasonable sum not exceeding
------------------ dollars for expenses. No assignee of wage claim shall be benefited or

affected by this section except as expressly provided by paragraph b of section 6.
Sec. 6. It shall be a (the) duty of the commissioner to enforce the provisions
of this act (chapter, etc.), and to that end he shall have tne following powers:

(a) He may investigate and attempt equitably to adjust controversies between
employers and employees in respect of wage claims or alleged wage claims.
(b) He may take assignments of waga claims in trust for the assigning em­
ployees. All such assignments shall run to the commissioner and his successors
in office. The commissioner may sue employers on wage claims thus assigned
with the benefits and subject to the provisions of section 5. He may join in a
single proceeding any number of wage claims against the same employer, but the
court shall have discretionary power to order a severance or separate trials or
(c) He may make complaint in a criminal court for any violation of the pro­
visions of section 3 or of the last sentence of section 2. Such complaint shall be
made not later th a n ____________months after the violation complained of.
The employer complained against shall, if found guilty, be liable to a fine of not
less th an __________dollars nor more than___________dollars. Judgment may
be entered for such fine and costs and may be enforced by execution and other­
wise in the same manner as if rendered in a civil proceeding [but payment may
not be enforced by imprisonment]. [Any such judgment sliail have the same pref­
erence as a judgment for taxes in favor of the State.]
(d) He may, after entry of final judgment against an employer in any pro­
ceeding in pursuance of section 5 or the foregoing paragraphs of this section,
require such employer to execute and deliver to him a bond conditioned upon
the full performance for a period of 1 year from its date of the provisions of
section 3 and the last sentence of section 2. Every such bond shall run to the
commissioner and his successors in office, shall be for a sum not exceeding_____



the average aggregate compensation payable monthly by such employer to em­
ployees in the business with respect to which judgment was entered, and shall
be executed by one or more sureties satisfactory to the commissioner [or ap­
proved in the same manner as bail in criminal proceedings]. In determining the
maximum amount for such a bond, there shall be computed the monthly average
of the aggregate compensation paid and payable for services rendered by em­
ployees in such business over the 6 months’ period immediately preceding
the commissioner’s written notice or over the period during which said employer
has been conducting said business, whichever period is shorter.
Before requiring such bond the commissioner shall give such employer not
less than 7 days’ notice in writing to enable the employer to show cause why
such bond should not be executed and delivered. Unless such bond is executed
and delivered when duly required, any court shall on suit by the commissioner
enjoin such employer from doing business in this State until the requirement is
met, or shall make other, and may make further, orders appropriate to compel
compliance with the requirement. In any legal proceeding respecting such bond,
the employer shall have the burden of proving the amount thereof to be excessive.
The commissioner shall prosecute all legal proceedings [as a corporation sole]
under his official title.
Sec. 7. Violation of any provision of section 3 or of the last sentence of section
2 by a corporation organized and existing under the laws of this State shall be
sufficient cause for forfeiture of its charter, and such violation by a foreign cor­
poration shall be sufficient cause for forfeiture of its right to do business in this
State. At the request and upon the advice of the commissioner the attorney
general may commence proper proceedings to enforce the forfeiture prescribed.
Before commencing such proceedings the attorney general shall give the cor­
poration affected not less than 7 days’ notice in writing to enable it to present
reasons why forfeiture should not be enforced. In such proceedings a prior
civil judgment against the defendant on a wage claim shall place upon the
defendant the burden of disproving its liability to forfeiture, and a prior judgment
under complaint made in accordance with paragraph c of section 6 shall be
conclusive evidence of such liability.
Sec. 8. The remedies provided in this act (chapter, etc.) shall be additional
to and not in substitution for other remedies now or hereafter existing or pro­
vided, and may be enforced simultaneously or consecutively so far as not incon­
sistent with each other. No payment or tender after the filing of a criminal
complaint or. commencement of any proceeding by the commissioner or the
attorney general shall affect the liability therein of an employer for expenses, or
prevent such employer from being subject to fine or forfeiture, or to the giv­
ing of bond for the performance of the provisions of this act (chapter, etc.).
So far as any civil proceeding hereunder is brought in’ [or appealed to] a court
of limited jurisdiction, allowance to the prevailing party for expenses shall be
taxed as additional costs, shall not oust such court of jurisdiction, and may be
enforced despite the fact that the total judgement thus rendered exceeds the
ordinary maximum jurisdictional amount.
Sec. 9. For the purpose of paying expenses and costs of the commissioner’s
proceedings under this act (chapter, etc.) there is hereby created a [trust] fund
to be known as the contingent fund of the commissioner, and to be payable at
any time or from time to time on order of the commissioner. This fund shall
be self-sustaining. All sums collected by the commissioner for costs, expenses,
and fines shall become part of this fund. A reasonable portion of the amount
recovered on any assigned w^age claim may also be added to the fund if the court
in which judgment is entered so orders at the request of the commissioner. For
the establishment of said contingent fund the sum o f ________dollars is hereby
appropriated to be placed to the credit of said contingent fund as a temporary
loan and paid out from time to time on order of the commissioner. This loan
so far as availed of shall be repaid to the State treasury by applying any accu­
mulations a b ov e________dollars in said fund on th e _________day o f ________ ,
193__, and by applying subsequent accumulations annually thereafter until
repayment without interest is completed.
Sec. 10. No employer may, by special contract or any other means, exempt
himself from any provision of or liability or penalty imposed by this act (chap­
ter, etc.) except so far as the commissioner in writing approves a special contract
or other arrangement between an employer and one [or?] more of such em­
ployer’s employees. The commissioner shall not give his approval unless he finds
that such contract or arrangement will not prejudicially affect the interests of



the public or of the employee or employees involved, and he may at any time
retract such approval, first giving the employer not less than 30 days’ notice
in writing. None of the provisions of this act (chapter, etc.) shall [affect the
right of any employer under lawful contract to retain part of the compensation
of any employee for the purpose of affording such employee insurance, or hos­
pital, sick, or other similar relief; nor shall any of said provisions] diminish or
enlarge the right of any person to assert and enforce a lawful set-off or counter­
claim or to attach, take, reach, or apply an employee’s compensation on due
legal process.

Workmen’s Compensation Legislation

The adoption of workmen’s compensation for industrial injuries in
lieu of the rule of the employer’s liability for injuries due to ms negli­
gence stands out in its effect on the status of the worker as one of
the most important legal-economic developments of modern times.
A right to relief based on the fact of employment, practically auto­
matic and certain, replaces the doubtful contest for a recovery based
on proof of the employer’s negligence and of the absence of the
common-law defenses.
At this time 44 States, the District of Columbia, the Territories of
Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands have enacted
some form of a workmen’s compensation law, leaving only 4 States32
without such legislation. The Federal Government has also enacted
a workmen’s compensation law for Government employees and one
covering longshoremen. A digest of the principal features of the laws
enacted by the States of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee has been
prepared and two tables drawn containing certain miscellaneous
information so that these laws may be readily compared. Copies of
the complete text of the workmen’s compensation laws of these States,
as well as the laws for the other States and Territories, may be found
in the published bulletins of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Date of enactment.—August 23, 1919. Effective January 1, 1920.
Injuries compensated.— Injuries caused by accident arising out of and in the
course of the employment, causing disability for more than 2 weeks, or death,
not caused by employee’s willful misconduct, intoxication, or willful failure
to observe rules or statutory duties.
Industries covered.— All except those employing less than 16 persons, com­
mon carriers while engaged in interstate commerce, and domestic and agricul­
tural service. Municipalities and employers of less than 16 employees (except
farm laborers), may e’ect to come under the act.
Persons compensated.— Private employment: All persons, in the industries
covered, including minors, but excepting casual employees not in the usual
course of the employer’s trade or business. Public employment: Not covered
unless employer elects.
Compensation for death:
(a) Expenses of last sickness and burial, in addition to required medical, etc.,
treatment, not to exceed $100.
(b) Total dependents: To widow, 30 percent of wages; to dependent hus­
band, 25 percent; to widow or widower and 1 child, 40 percent;
to widow or widower and 2 or 3 children, 50 percent; to widow
or widower and 4 or more children, 60 percent; to dependent orphan,
30 percent; for each additional orphan, 10 percent, maximum 60 per­
cent; to 1 parent, 25 percent, both, 35 percent; to grandparent,
brother, sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law, if one, 20 percent, if more
than one 25 percent.
Compensation payable in the order named and ceases on death or re­
marriage, and upon arrival of children at age of 18.

11Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and South Carolina.


w o r k m e n ’s c o m p e n s a t io n l e g is l a t io n


Compensation for death—Continued.
(c) To partial dependents: A proportion of the above corresponding to the
relation the contribution of the deceased to their support bore to his
Maximum weekly payment, $12 to $15, according to number of de­
pendents; minimum, $5, or actual wages. Total period, 300 weeks
including disability payments, if any; total maximum, $5,000.
Compensation for disability:
(а) Reasonable medical, etc., treatment for the first 60 days, not exceeding
(б) For temporary total disability, 50 percent of wages for not over 300
(c) For partial disability, 50 percent of wage loss for not over 300 weeks.
For certain specific injuries (mutilations, etc.), 50 percent of wages for
fixed periods (10 to 400 weeks).
(d) For permanent total disability, 50 percent of wages for 550 weeks, not
over $5 weekly after 400 weeks.
Maximum weekly payments, $12; with 1 wholly dependent child, $13;
with 2 children, $14; with 3 or more children, $15; minimum, $5,
or actual wages.
Compensation may be commuted to lump-sum payments by agreement
or by the court.
Revision of benefits.— Awards payable for more than 6 months may be revised
by agreement or by court.
Insurance.— Employers may insure whole or part of compensation. Insurance
not required.
Security for payments.— Compensation is not assignable, nor subject to gar­
nishment, and is entitled to the same preferences as unpaid wages.
Settlement of disputes.— Settlements not made by agreement are determined
by the courts.
Date of enactment.— August 17, 1920; in effect March 1, 1921.
Injuries compensated.— Personal injuries by accident arising* out of and in
course of the employment, causing death or disability for more than 7 days,
not due to the injured employee's willful misconduct, intoxication, violation of
safety provisions, or the willful act of a third person not due to the employment.
Industries covered.— All where 10 or more persons are employed, excepting
agriculture and domestic service, common carriers using steam power, and
institutions operated as public charities, all in the absence of contrary election.
Small establishments may make election to come under the act.
Persons compensated.— Private employment: All employees in establishments
covered, except casual employees. Public employment: Employees of municipal
corporations and political subdivisions of the State.
Compensation for death:
(a) Burial expenses not to exceed $100.
(b) To persons wholly dependent, 85 percent of the benefits provided for
total disability for 300 weeks.
(c) To persons partly dependent, a payment proportionate to the decedent's
contribution to their support.
Payments continue for not over 300 weeks from the date of injury,
$12.75 maximum, the total not to exceed $5,000. They cease on the
remarriage of a widow or widower, or on a child reaching the age of
18 unless incapacitated for earning.
Payments to nonresident aliens, other than in Canada, may not exceed


Compensation for disability:
(а) Necessary medical attention for not more than 30 days, the cost not to
exceed $100.
(б) For total disability, one half the weekly wages, not more than $15 nor
less than $4, unless wages are less than»$4, then full wages for not
more than 350 weeks; total not to exceed $5,000.
(c) For partial disability, 50 percent of the wage loss, not more than $12
per week, for not more than 300 weeks; fixed periods for specified
injuries, in lieu of all other compensation except for a period of not
over 10 weeks’ total disability.
Any weekly payment may be commuted to a lump sum after 26 weeks if
the parties agree and the commission approves.



Revision of benefits.— The commission may at any time review an award or
agreement, either on its own motion or on application of either party.
Insurance.— Insurance in a licensed stock or mutual company, or a reciprocal
association, is required unless satisfactory proof is given of ability to act as a selfinsurer.
Security of payments.— Evidence of insurance must be filed, policies must
inure directly to beneficiaries, payments made have same preference as wage debts,
and are exempt from assignment, attachment, etc.
Settlement of disputes.— Disputes are settled by the department of industrial
relations subject to appeal to the courts.
Date of enactment.— April 15, 1919; effective July 1, 1919.
Injuries compensated.— Injury by accident arising out of and in course of the
employment, causing disability for more than 1 week, or death, not due to
employee’s intoxication, willful misconduct, or intentional self-inflicted injury,
or refusal to use a safety appliance or perform a duty required by law.
Industries covered.— All employing five or more persons, except common carriers
while engaged in interstate commerce and domestic and agricultural service.
Small employers and the State and its municipalities may elect.
Persons compensated.— Private employment: All employed in the industries
covered except employees whose work is casual and not in the usual course of the
employer’s business. Public employment: Employees are not covered unless the
employer elects to come under the act.
Compensation for death:
(a) Burial expenses not to exceed $100.
(b) To widow, 30 per cent; with one child, 40 per cent; two or more children,
50 percent. One orphan child, 30 per cent; each additional orphan,
10 per cent; total not to exceed 50 per cent. Dependent widower,
20 per cent. One dependent parent, 25 per cent; two dependent
parents, 35 per cent. One grandparent, sister, brother, mother, or
father-in-law, 20 per cent; two or more, 25 per cent, of the average
weekly wages, in the order named.

(c) If only partial dependents survive, a proportion of the above corre­

sponding to the relation of the contribution of the deceased to the
total income of such dependents.
Payments to children (apparently) cease upon their reaching the age
of 18 years; to other dependents, on death or marriage; not over 400
Maximum weekly compensation, $16 per. week; minimum, $5, unless
wages are less than $5, when full wages are paid.
Compensation for disability:
(a) Reasonable medical and surgical treatment for 30 days after notice of
accident, not to exceed $100.
(b) For temporary total disability, 50 percent of average weekly wages, for
not over 300 weeks.
(c) For permanent total disability, 50 percent of wages for not to exceed
550 weeks, reduced to $5 per week after 400 weeks, with maximum
total of $5,000.
(d) For temporary partial disability, 50 percent of wage loss for not over
300 \ eeks.
(e) For permanent partial disability, 50 percent of wage loss for not oyer
300 weeks; for certain specific injuries (mutilations, etc.) producing
permanent partial disabilities, 50 percent of wages during fixed periods.
Payments are to begin on the eighth day; if disability continues for more
than 6 weeks, they date from the injury.
Payments may not exceed $16 per week nor be less than $5, unless wages
are less, and may be commuted to a lump sum.
Revision of benefits.— Revision of payments for more than 6 months may be
made by the court on agreement of parties; or, in case of disagreement, on appli­
cation of one party.
Insurance.— Insurance is required in an authorized insurance company or
association, or bond or proof of financial ability to make payments.



Security of payments.— Insurance policies must inure directly to the benefit
of the beneficiaries and be enforceable in an action by them.
Settlement of disputes.— Disputes are settled by the judge or chairman of the
county court, with right of appeal to the courts.

T a b l e 14.— Miscellaneous provisions of State workmen’s compensation laws

Compen­ Period and
sation law amount of med­ By whom law
elective or ical service is administered

Waiting time

Second injury

Alabama............. Elective *. 60 days; $100.. State courts... 2 weeks; retroac­ Provision therefor
tive at end of 4 but no second in­
jury fund.
Georgia............... 30 days; $100 2. D epartm ent 1 week; not retro­
of industrial active.
Tennessee........... —do.1......... 30 daps; $100- State courts. .. 1 week; retroactive
at end of 6 weeks.
1 Election presumed in absence of active rejection.
2 Additional services allowed in special case.
T a b l e 15.— Number of weeks for which compensation is payable for specified injuries
Loss of—

Index Mid­ Ring
shoul­ Hand Thumb finger finger finger

Alabama.____ 200 150
Georgia_____ 200 150
Tennessee___ 200 150




Lit­ Leg
Great Other Sight Hear­ ing
tle (at
fin­ hip) Foot toe toe of 1 ing 1 both
eye ear ears

20 15 175 125
20 15 175 125
20 15 175 125


10 100
10 100
10 100


Occupational Disease Legislation
Of the 44 States and 4 Territories having workmen’s compensation
laws, awards for occupational diseases are allowed in 11 States and
3 Territories. The States of Minnesota, New Jersey, New York,
Ohio, and the Territory of Puerto Rico have a specified list of occupa­
tional diseases covered by the workmen’s compensation law. Other
States recognizing occupational diseases as entitled to compensation
are California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois
(in certain employments by a separate act), Massachusetts (by judi­
cial interpretation of compensation law), North Dakota, Philippine
Islands, Wisconsin, and the United States under the Federal Em­
ployees’ Compensation Act and Longshoremen’s and Harbor Work­
ers’ Act. Kentucky includes “injuries or death due to the inhalation
in mines of noxious gases or smoke, commonly known as ‘bad air’
and also shall include the injuries or death due to the inhalation of
any kind of gas. ”
The question of occupational-disease compensation is not included
in the workmen’s compensation laws enacted by Alabama, Georgia,
or Tennessee.



Explanation of Figures of National Council on Workmen’s Compensa­
tion Insurance on Relative Benefits under Different State Laws

W . F. R o e b e r , Actuary National Council on Workmen’s Compensation
Insurance, New York City

(Prepared for the sixteenth annual meeting of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards
and Commissions held in Buffalo, N.Y., October 1929.]

You, as members of industrial accident boards and commissions,
are engaged in the administration of the workmen’s compensation
law of your State. You are interested primarily in the administra­
tion of your own State law, but you are also interested in comparing
your law with the laws of other States. For purposes of this com­
parison, the provisions of the various and sundry workmen’s com­
pensation laws m a y be grouped under the two general headings of
first, ‘‘Strictly administrative provisions9’, and second, ‘‘Benefit sched­
ules. ” I will deal only with the latter group, wliich lends itself to
mathematical analysis.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance has prepared a
table showing mathematically the benefit provisions of the law of
each State compared with the corresponding provisions of the law of
each of the other States. This table, which is in the form of a series
of index numbers using the New York law as a base, is called the table
of comparative benefit costs. The index figures appearing in the table
are called “law differentials.”
At this point you might well ask: “Of what particular value or
interest is this to me?” A general answer would be that you are
concerned with the liberality of the benefit provisions of the law in
your State as compared with the corresponding provisions of the laws
of other States. For example, when the State legislature has under
consideration an amendment to the compensation law, you are asked
for advice and your advice will undoubtedly be influenced by what
other States are doing. This table enables you to make a direct com­
parison with the laws of other States. You are also interested in
knowing how, on the average, the awards in your State compare with
the awards in other States. The aggregate awards over a reasonable
period of time in each of two States may show, for example, that the
aggregate cost of fatal cases is 20 percent higher in State A than in
State B. By referring to the table of comparative benefit costs,
you find that the law is only 15 percent higher in State A than in
State B. The remaining 5 percent is due, therefore, to differences
not attributable to the law. This residue is made up of a number of
items, included in which and flaying an extremely important part of
it is the attitude of the commissions and courts in settling claims.
I have just mentioned the differences in cost between States not
attributable to the benefit provisions of the laws. These differences
are of importance in compensation-rate making. We therefore use
experience differentials rather than law differentials in placing past
experience upon a common level of cost. Experience differentials in
addition to measuring differences in cost under the various laws
measure all other differences, such as methods of administration, atti­
tude of boards, commissions and courts, medical and hospital condi­
tions, wage levels, accident severity, frequency rates, and all the other
related subjects which play a part in determining loss cost. In other
words, the law differentials which are shown in the table of compara­
tive benefit costs compare the adequacy of the benefit provisions of



the various laws while the experience differentials measure not only
these provisions but also all other items affecting cost.
I will now attempt to explain the derivation and limitations of the
law differentials appearing in the table of comparative benefit costs.
For statistical purposes accidents are classified, according to the kind
of disability produced, into the six major divisions of fatal, permanent
total, major permanent partial, minor permanent partial, temporary,
and medical. Permanent total disability is usually defined as the loss
or complete loss of use of both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs,
both eyes, any two thereof, or any other injury which in fact perma­
nently and totally prevents a person from pursuing a gainful occupa­
tion.* Major permanent partial disability is disability, not consti­
tuting permanent total, which involves the loss or impairment to the
extent of 50 percent or more, of an arm, hand, leg, foot, or eye, or any
permanent injury which is compensated on the basis of 25 percent or
more of permanent total disability. With this explanation the other
terms are practically self-explanatory.
The table of comparative benefits is a comparison of the scale of
benefits of workmen’s compensation laws by these six statistical divi­
sions. New York is taken as the base, but as the values are consistent,
the table can be transformed to one with any other State as the base
by the simple process of division. The values given for Alabama in
the table as of January 1, 1929, are as follows:
Death____________________________________ _ 357
Permanent total___________________________ _ 252
Major permanent partial___________________ _ 448
Minor permanent partial__________________ „
Temporary total______________________________573

Everything else being equal, these figures mean that on the average
the cost of a fatal case setteld in accordance with the benefit provisions
of the compensation law of Alabama is 35.7 percent of the cost of
the .same case settled in accordance with the benefit schedule of the
New York compensation law, and similarly, the cost of a permanent
total case under the Alabama law is, on the average, 25.2 percent of
the cost of the same case under the New York law. The index num­
bers for different kinds of injury in the same State have no relation
whatever to one another. The relation between the average cost of a
fatal case and the average cost of a permanent total or any other kind
of a case cannot be determined from the table of comparative benefits.
These index numbers are obtained by calculating separately for
each kind of benefit the cost of compensating a standard distribution
of accidents under the compensation law of each of the States and
dividing the cost for each State by the cost for the basic State.
The standard distribution of accidents referred to is known as the
American Accident Table. This table is based upon a country-wide
study of compensation-accident statistics. In addition to the major
divisions by kind of disability, each division is further subdivided
as follows: For fatal, a distribution is given according to the kind
of dependents and their average age; in the permanent total disa­
bility classification the average age of the injured employee is shown;
in the permanent partial disability divisions the number of cases of
dismemberment or loss of use of each bodily member is given; and
for temporary disability there is shown a distribution by duration of



In order to obtain comparable figures, it is necessary to calculate,
on the basis of a common wage, the cost of compensating this dis­
tribution of accidents under the compensation law of each State.
Here we are confronted with a question as to what wage to use. For
example, in comparing the New York compensation law with the
Alabama compensation law, should the calculations be made at the
New York average weekly wage of $33.14, or the Alabaiha average
weekly wage of $20.41 ? Offhand it might appear that the same differ­
ential will be obtained regardless of the average wage used. This is
not the case, however, because of the operation of the maximum and
minimum limits to weekly compensation.
In New York the limits to weekly compensation for temporary
disability are $8 minimum and $25 maximum. At a compensation
rate of 66% percent these correspond to effective wages of $12 mini­
mum, and $37.50 maximum—that is, anyone whose average wage is
$12 or less will receive $8 per week if injured, regardless of the actual
average wage, and anyone whose average wage is $37.50 or greater
will be entitled to compensation of only $25 per week. Thus we see
that the weekly limits have the effect of making the actual percentage
rate of compensation greater than the legal percentage for those cases
lying at the lower end of the wage distribution and less than the legal
percentage for those cases lying at the upper end of the wage distribu­
tion. The location of these limits with respect to the average wage
has a marked influence on their effect. If the average wage comes
very close to the lower limit, the increase due to the lower limit is
likely to more than offset the decrease due to the upper limit, with the
net result that the compensation payable may amount to more than it
would if there were no limits. And, on the other hand, if the average
wage comes very near to the top limit, the compensation will be greatly
reduced below what it would have been if there were no limits.
In Alabama the limits of weekly compensation are $5 minimum and
$12 to $15 maximum, while the compensation rate is 50 percent. You
will note that these limits and the rate of compensation are consider­
ably lower than in New York. But in Alabama the average wage
upon which compensation payments are based is, according to latest
available statistics, $20.41, while in New York the corresponding
average wage is $33.14. It is obvious that if we calculate the mone­
tary cost of compensating a standard distribution of accidents using
a low set of limits from one State and a high wage from another State,
or vice versa, the results will be distorted. For example, if we use
the New York average wage of $33.14, the Alabama cost of temporary
disability is 54.1 percent of the corresponding cost in New York,
while if we use the Alabama average wage of $20.41, the corresponding
figure is found to be 66.3 percent. One solution would be to use the
average of the New York and Alabama wages. However, if we intro­
duce other States into the table on this basis, it is impossible, because
of the various underlying wages, to compare one State with any State
other than New York. We overcome this difficulty by using a
national average wage which is a weighted average of all the State
average wages. The cost of compensating the accident table is
computed under each State's law at this national average weekly
wage of $26.85.



The values given for medical in the table of comparative benefits
are obtained from a comparison of index numbers assigned to each
State in accordance with the legal limits to duration and monetary
amount of medical aid provided by the compensation law and do not,
therefore, measure actual differences in medical cost as between States.
The figures given for “All benefits” are weighted averages of the
6-part factors. National schedule Z data have been used as weights
for reasons similar to those underlying the use of a national average
In using this table of comparative benefit costs you must bear in
mind that the figures themselves are subject to many limitations
because of the fact that so many elements, the effect of which we can
only surmise, must enter into the computation. As pointed out in, my
previous remarks, the use of an average national wage is but an
approximation to the true condition in any particular State. A
comparison of cost under the “All benefits” column is correct only in
a general way. The distribution of accidents by type of injury
varies from State to State and will, therefore, be somewhat different
in each case from the national distribution or from any other set of
weights which might be used to obtain the average. Because of this
fact and others previously mentioned, it is essential to keep its
limitations in mind when using this table.
In conclusion, permit me to again point out that the law differentials
shown in this table are merely an approximate measure of the ade­
quacy of the benefit provisions of the various State laws and should
not be confused with the experience differentials employed in rate
making. These latter figures measure, in addition to differences in
law, all other factors affecting the loss cost.
The attached table of comparative benefit costs measures the theoretical
differences between the benefit schedules of the various workmen’s compensation
laws. The index numbers or law differentials appearing in this table should not
be teonfused with the experience differentials which measure in addition to dif­
ferences in law, all other factors affecting compensation cost. Law differentials
afford a convenient comparison of the benefit scales of the several workmen’s
compensation laws. Experience differentials, which include a measure of all items
affecting compensation cost, are used in rate making.
The factors shown for each of the majofr loss divisions of fatal, permanent
total, major permanent partial, minor permanent partial, and temporary are
determined separately by applying the compensation law of each State to a
standard distribution of accidents called the American Accident Table. The
index numbers for different kinds of injury in the same State have no relation
whatever to one another.
New York is taken as the base. For example, the figure shown in column (1)
for Alabama means that on the average, the cost of a fatal case settled in accord­
ance with the benefit provisions of the Alabama law is 35.7 percent of the cost
of the same case settled in accordance with the benefit provisions of the New
York law. Similarly, the average cost of a permanent total disability in Ala­
bama is 252/463 of the average cost of a permanent total disability in Alaska.
The laws have been valued on a national average weekly wage of $26.85.
The figures shown in column (7) are weighted averages of the 6-part factors.
National Schedule Z data have been used as weights.
Because there are so many elements, the effect of which we can only surmise,
entering into the calculation of these index numbers, they are approximate values
only. In using these values, their limitations should be borne in mind.


T a b l e 16.— Comparative benefit costs under workmen’s compensation laws
[Compiled as of Jan. 1, 1929]
Fatal nent



Medical Aver­
perma­ Tempo­ and age, all
nent rary hos­ benefits

Date of latest
law affect­
ing benefit

$1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 July 1,1928
New York.............................
252 448
584 573
571 Jan. 1,1920
Alabama....................................... 357
A1*ak* n . . __
__ ____
626 Aug. 7,1927
735 955
959 848 941 1,220
957 1,031 Nov. 3,1925
Arizona...............*........................ 1,147
782 July 29,1927
California...................................... 498
582 667
757 863 1,000
569 May 1,1927
Colorado....................................... 420
560 378 507
Connecticut................................. 518
767 1,000
771 July 1,1927
585 Apr. 29,1927
Delaware......... ............................ 345
509 615 600
403 1,082 1,069
959 1,000
961 July 1,1928
District of Columbia................... 762
772 609 Aug. 27,1925
Georgia.......................................... 383
Hawaii........................................ 447
248 820 848
806 1,000
790 Apr. 27,1927
Idaho............................................. 540
687 Mar. 2,1927
576 487
721 1,000
763 July 1,1927
654 857
751 1,000
Illinois........................................... 482
_ ___ .
722 May 16,1927
Iowa............................................... 497
560 605
603 July 4,1927
Kansas........................................... 496
746 July 1,1927
677 833
Kentucky..................................... 467
642 June 16,1926
458 575
Louisiana...................................... 456
619 675 895
741 Aug. 1,1928
819 1,258
784 822 July 16,1927
Maine................. -........................ 465 333
Maryland...................................... 595 284
716 768 1,014
830 June 1,1927
Massachusetts.............................. 539
645 560
714 Aug. 27,1928
Michigan...................................... 603 414
798 885
787 Sept. 5,1927
900 935 948 1,000
905 Apr. 25,1927
Minnesota..................................... 736 498
Missouri........................................ 649 554
698 963 1,086 1,000
901 Jan. 9,1927
482 403
Montana....................................... 576 320
608 Mar. 10,1925
554 963
792 July 24,1927
Nebraska...................................... 585
755 777
775 1,000
883 Mar. 21,1925
Nevada......................................... 916
700 663
760 1,014
New Hampshire........................... 376 210
450 295
735 571 May 4,1923
New Jersey................................... 504 929
797 1,026
877 850 Jan. 1,1929
New Mexico.-i..........................- 370 294
427 391
677 484 Mar. 14,1927
North Dakota.............................. 986
662 865 756 1,139 1,000
957 July 1,1927
Ohio............................................... 702 869
708 807
938 816 July 14,1925
Oklahoma..................................... 449
771 .Tune 29,1923
562 944
765 May 26,1927
Oregon........................................... 775
Pennsylvania............................... 443
715 Jan. 1,1928
716 871
457 352
Puerto Rico.................................. 396
596 Aug. 12,1928
648 1,000
Rhode Island............................... 373
494 473
613 Apr. 22,1927
South Dakota............................... 365
736 July 1,1927
Tennessee..................................... 536
444 561
599 Apr. 25,1927
600 758 884
765 June 15,1927
Texas............................................. 652
543 898
752 May 12,1925
Utah............................................... 562
Vermont........................................ 289
528 494
710 548 June 1,1927
Virginia......................................... 404
609 June 17,1928
493 608
Washington.................................. 880 557
668 1,000
736 July 1,1927
West Virginia............................... 687
722 911
828 July 24,1925
Wisconsin..................................... 765
689 1,215
958 Aug. 10,1927
Wyoming...................... j .............. 354
609 Apr. 1,1927
432 297
857 914
United States: Longshoremen.. 762 703 1,082 1,000 909 1,000 961 July 1,1927

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102