Is Your Business In Compliance With The Wage Theft Prevention Act?

Under a recently enacted New York statute, the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), all private sector New York employers are required to provide all employees performing work in New York a written notice advising them of their wage/salary rate. These written notices are due on or before February 1, 2012.

Background

In December 2010, Governor David Paterson signed the Wage Theft Prevention Act into law. The WTPA significantly amended New York’s Labor Law and is intended to be one of the strongest employee protection acts in the nation. It greatly increased employers’ affirmative obligations as well as increased the civil and criminal penalties for failing to comply. Part of the law’s intent appears to be directed toward employers who may have mistakenly designated employees as exempt who should have, under the dense and confusing guidelines, been eligible for overtime.

What The WTPA Requires

WTPA Notices must be provided to all employees, including managers and officers, that perform work in New York. Employers are not required to provide notices to out-of-state employees. The notices must state, in pertinent part:

  • each employee’s rate of pay (including the overtime rate, if applicable);
  • how the employee is paid (e.g., hourly, salary, commission, etc.);
  • when the employee is paid;
  • any allowances claimed as part of minimum wage; and
  • information regarding the employer, such as its name, any D/B/A and its address.

The notices must be provided to new hires within ten (10) days of their hiring, and to current employees every year between January 1st and February 1st. If the employee’s primary language is not English, notice must be provided in that person’s primary language. Employees must sign and date a written acknowledgement confirming receipt of the notice, and employers are required to maintain copies of the notice and signed acknowledgement for six years. Failure to provide these notices could result in fines assessed by the New York State Department of Labor of $50 per employee per week, up to a total of $2,500 per employee.

What To Do

The New York State Department of Labor’s website has a publically accessible page dedicated to the WTPA, which includes links to a WTPA Fact Sheet, Frequently Asked Questions, and a number of sample notice forms for different positions and in multiple languages. (http://www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/workprot/lshmpg.shtm) If you need any additional help in navigating the requirements of the Wage Theft Prevention Act or have questions, CDAS Partner Matthew Kaplan (mkaplan@cdas.com) is available to assist you.

This Advisory is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.