Governor Perry signed SB 1024 eliminating a loophole that previously existed for a criminal theft of service charge. Under prior law, a party obtaining services from another under a promise to pay could avoid a criminal charge of theft of service so long as the party was making minimal payments. According to the bill’s analysis:
Theft of wages occurs when employers fail to pay workers their promised wages. This is a frequent occurrence in Texas. In certain industries, such as construction, one in every five workers experiences wage theft. In addition, 50 percent of day laborers have experienced wage theft. The impact of this theft is widespread and has caused many workers to be unable to meet their family’s basic needs.
S.B. 1024 addresses instances when workers receive periodic or partial payment of wages. The bill also amends current law to maintain that a person commits theft of service if, with intent to avoid payment, that person fails to make full payment after receiving notice demanding payment if the compensation was to be paid periodically. The intent to avoid payment for a service may be formed at any time during or before a pay period, and the partial payment of wages alone is not sufficient evidence to negate the actor’s intent to avoid payment for a service.
SB 1024 creates a criminal offense when the actor fails to make "full" payment after rendition of the services and further clarifies "that partial payment of wages alone is not sufficient evidence to negate the actor’s intent to avoid payment for service."
The law takes effect September 1, 2011.
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