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New York Employers Relieved of Yearly Administrative Headache

New York’s Wage Theft Prevention Act (“WTPA”), effective since 2011, was recently amended to eliminate the requirement that employers notify employees of their pay rate and related information yearly, by February 1.  This should come as a big relief to most employers.  However, employers must still give new hires the required notice and obtain their written acknowledgment of receipt and restaurants must still give notice every time there is a wage change while other employers must give notice of only wage decreases.  Further, if any of the information in the notice changes, employers must tell employees at least one week before it happens.

As most employers know, the notice required by the WTPA must include information such as rate(s) of pay including overtime rate if applicable, how the employee is paid, regular payday, official name of the employer and any other names used for the business (i.e., “doing business as”), employer’s address and phone number, and any allowances taken as part of minimum wage (e.g., tip, meal, lodging).  These notices must be given in English and in the employee’s primary language.  The New York Department of Labor (“NYDOL”) makes a variety of WTPA notices available varying based on how the employee is paid and how the employee is classified – exempt or non-exempt.

In addition to eliminating the annual notice requirement, the amendment makes a number of other changes:

  • Increased penalties for employers who fail to give proper notice to newly-hired employees and fail to issue paystubs to employees, and increased penalties against employers who violated labor laws within the previous six years;
  • Employers who have previously committed wage theft or violated wage and hour laws willfully or egregiously, and are ordered to pay wage, benefits, wage supplements, and liquidated damages, are required to report specified employee and wage data to the Commissioner of Labor (“Commissioner”), which will be published on the NYDOL’s website;
  • Enhanced liability of successor employers;
  • NYDOL investigations will cover the entire six-year statute of limitations period unless the Commissioner notifies all affected employees;
  • Contractors or sub-contractors who commit wage theft must notify all of their employees of the violations;
  • The largest ten members of a limited liability company are personally liable for all debts, wages, or salaries due to employees; and
  • Created a fund to offset the cost of administration and enforcement of labor laws, funded by fines and penalties collected by the NYDOL.

Although most of the changes are effective February 27, 2015, the NYDOL has stated it will not require employers to give employees the annual pay rate notice for 2015.  If you have questions about this amendment, you should consult competent counsel.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with local, state, and federal employment laws including wage and hour laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.