New York’s annual wage notice requirement has been discarded, however other employee protections are in the process of being strengthened
Beginning in 2015, New York employers will no longer be required to provide annual wage notices to existing employees. The annual Wage Notice duty was imposed on employers as part of the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA or Act), passed in 2010 to remedy supposed abuses of the state’s wage payment laws.
In particular, the WTPA required that all NYS employers provide written notice to existing employees detailing certain wage-related information between the time frame of January 1 and February 1 of each year.
This notice required employers to provide information to their employees such as the basis for the employee’s pay rate, whether the employer intended to claim an allowance, the employee’s regular payday, and identifying information about the employer.
More importantly, the Bill actually provides reinforcement to several other wage-related safeguards for New York employees. For example, the Bill increases the penalties on employers that fail to distribute a Wage Notice to new employees.
Furthermore, while the original Act authorized the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) to levy a $50 penalty – per workweek, per worker – on an employer that failed to provide a proper Wage Notice; the amended Act now authorizes the DOL to impose a $50 penalty – per workday, per worker – on an employer that fails to provide a proper Wage Notice within the first 10 days of employment.
Moreover, newly hired employees may also now recoup up to $5,000 – doubled from that permitted in the original incarnation of the Act – from employers that fail to distribute WTPA-compliant Wage Notices.
The Bill also proposes several other changes to protect employees against wage theft, including:
- A provision preventing companies from re-structuring or dissolving and creating a new entity with the same business purpose, in order to sidestep wage-related liability.
- A provision requiring an employer to report specific employee and wage data to the Department of Labor (to be published on the DOL’s website), in cases where the DOL issues an order directing payment of wages to an employer who has been a previous offender of the Labor Law, or whose violation is deemed willful or egregious.
- A provision doubling the maximum civil penalty, from $10,000 to $20,000, for employers that commit a second Labor Law violation within a six-year period.
- The creation of the Wage Theft Prevention Enforcement Account to allocate money collected from certain wage and hour violations.
If you, or anyone you know, have been the victim of wage theft or wage-related issues, it is important that you contact an experienced New York employment attorney to help you defend your rights!