New York: Wage Theft Prevention Act becomes Effective February 1st

Employers, are you prepared to comply with the Wage Theft Prevention Act? The New York Wage Theft Prevention Act outlines an employer’s responsibility to communicate an employee’s terms of employment in a written notice. Effective February 1, 2012, employers must present the written notice to employees at the time of hire and annually thereafter (on or before February 1st of each subsequent year).

The written notice should include:

  • The employee’s rate(s) of pay;
  • The basis of the employee’s rate(s) of pay (e.g., by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or other);
  • Whether the employer intends to claim allowances as part of the minimum wage, including tip, meal, or lodging allowances, and the amount of those allowances;
  • The employee’s regular pay day designated by the employer in accordance with the frequency of pay requirements in New York Labor Law Section 191;
  • The name of the employer and any “doing business as” names used by the employer;
  • The physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address if different; and
  • The telephone number of the employer.

Employers can notify employees in writing within seven calendar days if any of the information above changes, through a new written notice or modified paycheck stub.

The written notice can be in English and in any other language primarily spoken by the employees. The New York Deportment of Labor (NYDOL) offers translations of the notice in Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian and Spanish (online). Additionally, the Act allows employers to distribute the notice electronically, if the employer can confirm that the employee will receive the notice along with the acknowledgement form and the employee can print a copy of the notice for their records.

Employers must obtain a signed and dated acknowledgement of the notice for each employee. If the employee refuses to acknowledge the notice, the employer is advised to note the employee’s refusal to sign. Copies of the notice and accompanying acknowledgement must be retained for six years to serve as documentation upon request of the NYDOL.

Fines: Failure to provide the notice within ten (10) business days of a new employee’s starting date could potentially result in costly litigation, where the employee can recover $50 for each work week, with up to a maximum of $2,500 along with attorney’s fees and cost.

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