Robinson Brog Leinwand Greene Genovese & Gluck, P.C. - New York City Business Litigation Attorneys

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Client Alert-New York Wage Theft Prevention Act Update: Annual Notice Requirement Eliminated

by Felicia Ennis

On December 29, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill amending the Wage Theft Prevention Act (“WTPA” or “Act”), eliminating the annual notice requirement that before February 1 of each year, employers notify and receive written acknowledgment from all employees regarding their rate of pay, allowances, payday and related information.  However, the notice requirement for each new hire has not changed. 

As a reminder, the WTPA took effect on April 9, 2011.  The law requires employers to give written notice of wage rates to each new employee within 10 days of hire.

The notice must include:

  • Rate or rates of pay, including overtime rate of pay (if it applies)
  • How the employee is paid: by the hour, shift, day, week, commission, etc.
  • Regular payday
  • Official name of the employer and any other names used for business (DBA)
  • Address and phone number of the employer's main office or principal location
  • Allowances taken as part of the minimum wage (tips, meal and lodging deductions)

The notice must be given both in English and in the employee's primary language (if the Labor Department offers a translation).

The New York State Commissioner of Labor has provided notice templates in English and other languages.  You must select the correct template for each employee. 

Changes in Penalties and Liability for WTPA Violations

The Amendment has increased penalties for violations.

  • Increased Penalties.  The WTPA entitles an employee to sue for violation of the Act’s notice requirement.  The Amendment has increased the penalty for such a violation from $50 for every week that notice was not provided (up to a maximum of $2,500) to $50 per day up to a maximum of $5,000.
  • Personal Liability for LLC Members. The Amendment makes the 10 members with the largest ownership share of an LLC liable for the LLC’s debts to employees in the event the LLC defaults on its obligations. 
  • Successor Liability.  An employer with similar ownership, employees, products and customers to a prior employer will be liable for any outstanding violations of the predecessor under the Act.
  • Increased Enforcement. The Amendment increases the Commissioner of Labor’s authority to investigate claims of violations of the Act and retaliation for reporting violations.     

New York employers should familiarize themselves with the Act’s requirements to ensure compliance with existing requirements and the recent Amendments.  Employers should review existing hiring, payroll and recordkeeping practices to avoid the significant penalties that can result from non-compliance.  As always, please feel free to contact Robinson Brog’s Labor and Employment Group with any questions.

REMINDER:  As of December 31, 2014, New York State's minimum wage is $8.75 per hour.

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