Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Published: Mar 18, 2024 3 min read
Photo Illustration of two giant hands transferring coins from one hand to the next, with two people working on a computer sitting on top
Money; Getty Images

Does your company owe you back wages? A government agency just sent out a reminder on social media about an online resource you can use to see if an employer owes you money.

The Department of Labor’s Workers Owed Wages tool lets you look up the name of an employer to see if it owes back wages to employees. Last fiscal year, the system helped send $26.9 million to workers.

The department’s Wage and Hour division is responsible for enforcing federal labor laws, and its investigations can result in workers’ being owed money for employer violations. For example, an employer can be required to pay back wages if it wasn't properly compensating employees for overtime hours.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
If you owe over $15,000 in debt, a Debt Relief Program may be able to help get you back on your feet more quickly.
Select your state to begin applying for Accredited's debt relief program.
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas
Get Started

While the Department of Labor says it works hard to try to contact people who are owed money, there are instances when it’s unable to locate an individual.

In one of the largest recent cases, Philadelphia-based company U.S. Medical Staffing was ordered to pay more than $9 million in back wages and damages to about 1,700 workers. (That judgement came out in 2022, but employees were still owed over $2.7 million as of December, according to USA Today.)

The department will hold unclaimed funds for three years, but after that it sends the money to the U.S. Treasury.

Anyone who suspects that a current or former employer owes them money is encouraged to use the search tool. Doing a search only takes a few moments, and it can be worthwhile. Last year, the average amount disbursed to workers owed back wages was about $1,300.

How to find back wages and unclaimed money

The Department of Labor's online tool is simple to use: First, enter your employer's name to see if it show up in the database. If it does, enter your name to check if you’re owed back wages. Lastly, follow the remaining instructions and send any necessary documents to finalize your claim. If you have trouble locating unpaid wages, you can call the Wage and Hour division at 1-866-487-9243 for assistance.

The Workers Owed Wages tool isn’t the only government website that can help you find money under your name. You can continue your search for unclaimed funds using the Treasury Hunt search tool, which can locate unpaid Treasury Securities and missing interest. You can also search state treasury websites to see if they have any unclaimed assets that you can claim.

More from Money:

17 Best Credit Cards of March 2024

Why Retirement Savings in Roth IRAs Tend to Outlast Traditional 401(k)s

As Home Insurance Costs Soar, 6 Million Owners Decide to Skip Coverage Altogether

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.Ad
If you owe over $15,000 or more, Accredited can help you get back on your feet!