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New York Wage Theft Protection Act Update: Notice Deadline for Compliance Fast Approaching

above-the-bar-logo.jpgThe New York Wage Theft Prevention Act (‘WTPA”), which was passed last December, 2011, becomes effective April 9th of this year. If you’re an employer with a business and employees in New York, make sure you are in compliance with the Act’s strict notice requirements. Before the end of this month, you must give out your first pay notices to all your employees regarding their pay status.

The New York Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently issued sample notices, guidelines and FAQ’s regarding its application. The timing of the notices and the information you distribute in the notice is crucial. You must give out your first notices regarding your employees pay status at the time of hiring, every year on or before February 1st of each year of employment, and within 7 days of a change in compensation if the change is not set forth in the employee’s pay stub in the next pay period.

The Act also provides that you must give notice in the employee’s primary language. One thing to watch out for here is make sure you don’t ask a potential hire what his or her primary language is before you offer them a job. The DOL has issued form notices in Spanish, Korean, and Chinese and is planning to issue them in Haitian-Creole, Russian, and Polish. However, if your employee’s primary language is not one of the above, the NY DOL has opined that you do not need to translate the notice into that language.

Whether payroll company issues your companies paychecks or you do your own payroll, you must provide your employees with the following information in each paycheck:

  • your main address and telephone number;
  • the employee’s rate of pay;
  • the employee’s gross wages;
  • any wage deductions;
  • net wages;
  • the dates covered;
  • the basis for the rate of pay (whether it is hourly, daily, weekly, salary, shift, or commission);
  • any allowances claimed as part of the employee’s minimum wage such as tips or a meal allowance; and
  • the regular and overtime pay rate and the number of regular and overtime hours worked for non-exempt employees;
  • The Act also has increased penalties and fines for violations. If you don’t give a notice containing the above information to a new hire within 10 days of their starting employment, he or she can sue you for $50 for each week of violation and collect up to a maximum of $2,500. Your current employees who don’t get a notice can sue you for up to $100 per week of violation and recover up to $2,500. Keep in mind that the notice must contain all the information set forth above. The Act also allows new hires and current employees who successfully sue to recover costs such as attorneys’ fees from the employer. Although some of the fines and penalties are the same under the WTPA as they were under the New York Labor Law, the WTPA has upped the potential liquidated damages to 4 times the prior amount. In other works, if you fail to pay your employee in violation of the Labor Law, you could be liable to that employee for 100% of the wages you owe.

    The Act contains many pay and notice requirements that you must incorporate into your business practice in a very short amount of time. Our attorneys have helped many companies review and correct their wage notices to avoid being hit with huge fines and penalties. Call our experienced attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help review your policies and make sure your business is in compliance with the new requirements.


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    Other Sources:

    NYS DOL Wage Theft Protection Act

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