New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act, WTPA - Labor Law - by Deanne Braveman, Esq.

by Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.

New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act, WTPA - Labor Law

March 30, 2011

Written By: Deanne Braveman

Labor laws are designed to create safe working environments and guarantee employees a minimum wage, the right to take meal breaks, workers compensation when injured, and the right to address violations of the law and seek redress. “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers” reports the findings of a 2008 study of low wage workers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. This study found rampant violations of minimum wage, overtime, meal break, pay stub, and other labor protections.

The rates of wage theft and other labor law violations are staggering. Of the 4,387 workers in the study, 68 percent experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous week. The average worker lost $51, out of average weekly earnings of $339, to labor law violations. This amounts to 15 percent of weekly earnings. The average worker in this study put in 11 hours of overtime that were underpaid or not paid at all. Eighty six percent of study participants worked enough hours to require a meal break. However, 69 percent of these individuals did not receive their break, had it shortened, or had to work through it.

The Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) seeks to address these problems by clarifying New York State law regarding wage protections and expand the rights of employees to seek civil and criminal avenues of remedy for their employer's violation of labor law. The WTPA was introduced by Senator Diane Savino and Assembly Member Carl Heastie during the 2010 legislative session. The bill was passed by both houses and signed into law by Governor Paterson on December 10, 2010 as Chapter 564 of the laws of 2010. The WTPA takes effect on April 9, 2011. Below is a summary of the changes to the New York State Labor law under the WTPA by section of law.

Pre-Employment Notice of Wage Rates (Labor Law Section 195, Subdivisions 1, 2, 3 and 4)

Labor Law Section 195 governs notice and record keeping requirements that employers must engage in. The WTPA clarifies that an employer must disclose the intent to claim allowance (i.e. tip or meal allowances) as part of the minimum wage and the basis for payment (i.e. by hour, shift, day, week, piece). WTPA adds a requirement that the employer must disclose their “doing business as” name and contact information of the employer’s principal place of business. This information must be provided at the time of hire, annually, and within 7 days of any change if the employers address is not listed on pay stubs. The information must be provided in English and the primary language of the employee as designated by the employee. The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) is authorized to provide templates of these forms in English and those other languages as the Commission deems necessary. Employees are required to affirm that they have accurately told their employer of their primary language.

The WTPA also codifies requirements of information that must be included in pay stubs. This includes: dates of work covered by payment, name of employee and employer, address and phone number of employer, rate of pay and basis of pay (i.e. hourly, shift, piece, etc), and any allowances claimed as part of the minimum wage. Employers are required to keep payroll records for six years.

Powers of the Commissioner (Labor Law Section 196)

Labor Law Section 196 outlines powers of the Commissioner of DOL to investigate violations of the Labor Law and enforce penalties. The Commissioner now has the discretion to demand an employer to provide an accounting of assets of the employer including bank accounts, accounts receivable, personal property, real property, etc. If the employer does not comply with this demand in a timely manner the Commissioner is empowered to bring an action in Supreme Court to compel the employer to furnish the accounting. A civil penalty of no more than $10,000 is authorized if the Commissioner must go to court to compel compliance. The Commissioner may also require an employer to post bond after default on an order to comply.

Complaints by Employee to Commissioner (Labor Law Section 196-a)

Labor Law Section 196-a allows the Commissioner to discuss a complaint by an employee with a representative of their collective bargaining unit. The WTPA codifies the DOL policy of maintaining the identity of an employee involved in an investigation as confidential.

Civil Penalty (Labor Law Section 197)

Labor Law Section 197 allows the Commissioner to recover a fine from an employer who differentiates rates of pay on the basis of sex. Prior to the WTPA the Commissioner could only recover this fine in a court proceeding. Under the WTPA the Commissioner can recover the fine during an administrative proceeding.

Costs, Remedies (Labor Law Section 198)

Labor Law Section 198 outlines costs and remedies (Please see PDF)

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.

Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.