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IMPORTANT CHANGES TO THE WAGE THEFT PREVENTION ACT

Background...

The New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), which went into effect in 2011, required employers to give all employees written notice of the employee's wage rate (hourly and overtime), exempt or non-exempt status, and other information relating to their pay and the business they work for, by February 1st of each year. The Notice had to be signed by both employer and employee, and maintained by the employer.

As we previously reported...

The Legislature passed a bill several months ago repealing the Annual Notice Provisions of the WTPA, but the bill was not presented to Governor Cuomo until December 17, 2014. On December 29, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed the bill which repeals this provision of the WTPA, one that was cumbersome for both large and small employers, and was enforced by a daily fine, per employee, for non-compliance.

Significantly...
The notice provisions remain in place for new hires, who must receive notice within 10 days of hiring. Also, a new notice must be provided to employees when there is a change in their rate of pay.

It is also important to note...

While the annual notice requirement is no longer in place, employers must provide such notice to employees receiving the minimum wage in 2015 and 2016, because there is still a notification requirement each time there is a rate change. Since the minimum wage increased to $8.75 on December 31, 2014 and is set to increase to $9.00 on December 31, 2015, a notice must still be provided to minimum wage employees in 2015 and 2016.

However...

The carrot for employers also comes with a stick; the penalty for non-compliance with the remaining provisions of the law also has significantly increased:

  • The penalty for non-compliance increases from $50 per week per employee to $50 per day per employee.
  • The maximum penalty that can be imposed and collected by the Department of Labor has also increased, from $10,000 to $20,000.
  • The new bill also imposes liability for unpaid wages on LLC members individually, when appropriate notice is given, as well as for successor businesses.

Should you have any questions or concerns about these changes, please feel free to contact Mr. Gefen at 516.437.4385.