Imagine a robber enters a bank, demands the contents of the safe, flees with bags of cash, and once caught, has to do one thing: return the stolen money and promise not to do it again. No penalty, no prosecution, no additional deterrent. More people would likely think, "Why not try? If I get caught, the worst that could happen is I would give the money back.”
The federal labor department this month announced a nationwide pilot program which is pretty close to this scenario. Under the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, the U.S. Department of Labor would enable employers who have underpaid their hard-working employees to simply pay back those wages owed, while avoiding any penalties and damages. It’s a cute acronym for a very bad idea.