as Governor, David Paterson signed into law the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (“WTPA”). The WTPA, which is effective April 12, 2011, imposes on employers new administrative and recordkeeping requirements related to the payment of wages and sharply increases penalties for failure to comply with the New York Labor Law. New Hire & Yearly Wage Notification Requirements New York Labor Law Section 195(1) currently requires employers to notify all new hires in writing of their pay rate(s), regular pay day, and overtime pay rate. The WTPA expands the scope of information that must be included in these notifications, which must now also be given to all employees on a yearly basis. As amended by the WTPA, Section 195 will require employers to provide employees, both at the time of hire and on or before February 1 of each year after the effective date (April 12, 2011), written notification (in English and in the language identified by each employee as his or her primary language, provided the New York State Department of Labor (“NY DOL”) has prepared a template notice in such language) which must include: rate(s) of pay; whether paid by hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or other; allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage, including tip, meal, or lodging allowances; regular pay day designated by the employer; name of the employer and any “doing business” names used by the employer; physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address if different; telephone number of the employer; and for non-exempt employees, their regular and overtime rates of pay (the NY DOL has taken the position that employers must also provide exempt employees with the specific basis for their exemption). The WTPA instructs the Commissioner of Labor to prepare templates that comply with these requirements for employers to use. Although the templates are not currently available, we anticipate that they will be posted on the NY DOL’s website when ready.
____________________________________ This Employment Note, which may constitute attorney advertising, is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice in any jurisdiction. © 2011 Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP

the WTPA also provides that each time such a notice is provided to an employee the employer will be required to obtain from the employee a signed and dated acknowledgement in English and in the primary language of the employee of receipt of the notice.e. whether paid by the hour. shift. Attorneys’ fees and interest are also available. The NY DOL has not yet provided any guidance concerning the scope of any such waivers or exemptions. and the number of overtime hours worked. net wages. week. overtime rate(s) of pay. gross wages. Increased Penalties The WTPA adds and increases penalties for failing to comply with the Labor Law. which is consistent with existing NY DOL regulations.If any of the required wage information in the notice changes. For instance. for non-exempt employees. Formerly liquidated damages were capped at 25%. Among other things. the names of the employee and employer. New penalties for failing to give the required wage payment notices. the WTPA requires that employers furnish a statement with every payment of wages listing: the dates of work covered by that payment. allowances. Specifically. employers should take care to not single out or discriminate against any particular protected class of employees when inquiring about their primary language. and for piece-rate workers. which the employer must preserve and maintain for six years. the rate(s) of pay and the basis thereof. the WTPA amends the Labor Law to provide for the following: Liquidated damages to each employee of up to 100% of wages due for failing to pay wages. Among other things. including the new wage notification requirements. the applicable piece rate(s) and number of pieces completed at each rate. day. Of course. if any employee is not provided the notice within ten business days of his or her first day of © 2011 Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP 2 . claimed as part of the minimum wage. deductions. piece. the regular hourly rate(s) of pay. salary. i. written notice of such change must be provided at least seven days prior to the time of such change (unless the changes are reflected on the wage statement furnished. unless the employer can prove that it possessed a good faith basis that its payment of wages was in compliance with the law. commission. We anticipate providing an additional update for staffing firms. the number of regular hours worked. as described below). Detailed Wage Statements The WTPA also increases the volume of information employers must provide to employees on paycheck stubs. or other. if any. the address and phone number of the employer. the WTPA grants the Commissioner of Labor the discretion to waiver or alter the wage notification requirements for temporary help firms. Potential Waivers for Staffing Firms Because implementation of certain aspects of the WTPA will be particularly burdensome for employers in the staffing industry. New Recordkeeping Requirements Section 195 has also been amended to provide that employers maintain the required detailed wage payment records for six years..

he or she may recover $50 for each work week that the violations occurred or continue to occur. Sharply increased penalties for and broadened protections against retaliation of employees who make good faith wage complaints. partnership. As a result – and considering the recent wave of wage and hour lawsuits – now may be an appropriate time for all employers to conduct a review of their wage payment and recordkeeping February 2011 Andrew W. together with costs and attorneys’ fees. up to $ Stacey A. Klarreich (212) 508-6747 jak@thsh. or ignorant about. Usiak (212) 702-3158 usiak@thsh. Singer (212) 508-6723 singer@thsh. Klimpl (212) 508-7529 klimpl@thsh. the employer will be required to post a workplace notice. or other attorney at THSH with whom you work: Joel A. or limited liability company for failing to pay wages or keep records in accordance with the law or for engaging in unlawful retaliation (formerly. for up to a year. summarizing the violations and other pertinent information (other public posting requirements apply to willful violations).com Jason B. Criminal liability under certain circumstances for officers and agents of a corporation. Conclusion The WTPA raises the stakes for employers who are noncompliant with. their obligations under the Labor Law. Where an employer is found to have violated certain provisions of the Labor Law. **************** If you have any questions concerning the Wage Theft Prevention Act or other issues of employment law. such as the payment of wages.500.employment. up to $2. Damages to each employee of $100 for each work week that an employer fails to provide the proper wage © 2011 Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP 3 . together with costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. please contact any of the following attorneys in our Employment Law Group. only the officers and agents of corporations were covered).500.

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