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January 26th, 2012
Take Steps Now to Update Your Wage Notice Requirements
The Wage Theft Protection Act requires private sector employers in New York to provide employees with written notice of applicable regular pay rates at the time of hire, and give employees at least a week''s notice of any changes in pay or other related information. Employers must also notify employees, in both English and the employee’s “primary language,” about the basis of pay rates, any allowances they are entitled to, and of employer information, such as employer’s principal place of business. This information must also be included in the employee wage statements, supplemented with dates covered by the wage, rates of pay, deductions, etc. The law, which went into effect last April, not only increased the paperwork burden for wage and hour compliance, it also increased the penalties.
Effective February 1, 2012, employers must now also give all existing employees – not just new hires -- similar notices between January 1 and February 1 of each year. The New York Department of Labor has issued helpful guidelines here and here, Frequently Asked Questions and model forms to help you comply.
Penalties. If you fail to provide proper notice to a new employee within 10 business days of their start date, the penalty is $50 ($100 for existing employees) for each workweek of non-compliance ($2,500 maximum) -- plus related costs and attorneys’ fees.
California recently enacted a similar Wage Theft Prevention Act which took effect on January 1, 2012. This law requires private sector employers in California to provide all new nonexempt hires with written notice of specific wage information. The law also imposes new recordkeeping obligations, and increases the penalties for nonpayment of all wages due, including overtime premiums and minimum wage for all hours worked. The Act also mandates that the Labor Commissioner prepare a template of the written notice, which the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE) issued on December 28. A copy of the template is available here. Employers must provide the notice in the language that the employer normally uses for communicating employment-related information to employees. Employees must be notified of any changes to the information provided in the initial notice within seven calendar days after these changes are made. This notice of changes may contain all of the information required by Section 2810.5 of the Act (see this link beginning at page 14), a notice of only the changed information, or a timely wage statement that reflects the changes.
Penalties. The new California law subjects employers to significantly increased penalties and damages for noncompliance – and gives the state Labor Commissioner more time to seek them.
If you have any questions about how to bring your company into compliance with the New York or California Wage Theft Protection Act, or have any other questions about employment law compliance, please contact Wendy Stryker at (212) 705-4838 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer. This alert provides general coverage of its subject area. We provide it with the understanding that Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz is not engaged herein in rendering legal advice, and shall not be liable for any damages resulting from any error, inaccuracy, or omission. Our attorneys practice law only in jurisdictions in which they are properly authorized to do so. We do not seek to represent clients in other jurisdictions.
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