The New York State Legislature passed the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), which enhances employee notification requirements. The law, which goes into effect April 9, 2011, requires New York employers to provide employees with certain information, and, in some cases, in their native language.
Effective April 9, 2011, New York employers must provide a notice to all new hires containing the following information: rate of pay, overtime rate for hourly employees, pay frequency, any allowances taken against the minimum wage (tips, meals, lodging, etc.), exempt or non-exempt status. In addition, the notice must include the company name and any other names used, as well as the phone number, physical address of the company’s main office and mailing address if different.
- The most noticeable aspect of the law is that these notices must be provided in the employees’ primary language. To assist employers in complying with the law, the New York State Commissioner is in the process of preparing the templates to be used, along with the appropriate translations. The Commissioner has determined that the notices will be prepared in English, Haitian-Creole, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Polish and Russian. If an employee identifies any other language as his/her primary language, the employer is only required to provide the English version of the document.
- The first of the forms, in English, Chinese, Spanish and Korean, were just released, and they are accessible to employers through the state’s website. We anticipate that the rest will be made available prior to April 9.
- Also, please be advised that these forms must be completed and distributed to any employee seven (7) days in advance of any change in the information contained in the notice, i.e. exempt status or pay rate.
- Between January 1 and February 1, 2012, and each year thereafter, employers are required to provide these notices to all employees.
- Lastly, the new law enhances the penalties New York State employers face if they fail to comply with The Wage Theft Prevention Act; they can easily range into the thousands of dollars. Employers are liable for unpaid wages plus interest and attorney fees, but up to 100% of unpaid wages can also be awarded as liquidated damages.
New York employers should review their new hire documentation to ensure compliance with these new regulations.
For more information, please go to the State of New York’s Frequently Asked Questions section of their website.