New York Enacts The Wage Theft Prevention Act


On December 13, 2010, Governor David Patterson signed the Wage Theft Prevention Act (“WTPA”). The WTPA will take effect on April 12, 2011. As set forth in more detail below, the WTPA amends the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) in a number of ways by providing additional protections for employees while subjecting employers who fail to comply with the WTPA’s requirements to more severe penalties.

Wage Rate Notices The WTPA amends Section 195 of the NYLL to require that employers provide employees with a written notice containing certain information including: (1) the employee’s rate or rates of pay (including the overtime rate of pay for non-exempt employees), and the basis thereof; (2) whether the employee will be paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission or otherwise; (3) whether the employer will claim any allowances as part of the minimum wage (e.g., tip, meal or lodging allowances); and (4) the employer’s regular pay day.

Employers must provide employees with this written notice at the time of their hire and on or before February 1st of each subsequent year of the employee’s employment. Moreover, employers must provide the notice to employees in English and in the language identified by each employee as his/her primary language. Employers are required to preserve and maintain this documentation for six years.

If an employer fails to provide an employee with the above notice within ten business days of his/her first day of employment, then the employee may recover $50 for each work week during which the violation occurred or continues to occur up to a maximum of $2,500 together with attorneys’ fees and costs.

The WTPA has instructed the Commissioner of Labor to prepare template notices that comply with the WTPA’s requirements, but the Commissioner of Labor has not yet issued such templates.

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