Reminder To New York Employers To Provide Annual Wage Notices Between January 1, 2012 and February 1, 2012

December 2011Alerts Labor & Employment Department Alert

Beginning on January 1, 2012, all private employers will be required to provide each New York employee with the annual New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) mandated notice. This notice applies to executives, managers, supervisors and non-supervisory employees alike. As we described in our April 2011 Client Alert, available here , the WTPA amended New York State’s Labor Law and, among other things, significantly increased New York State employers’ record keeping burdens. Specifically, employers must now provide each employee, at the time of hire, any time an employee’s rate of pay changes, and between January 1 and February 1 of every year, with a written notice identifying:

  • His or her regular rate(s) of pay and overtime rate(s) of pay (if applicable);
  • The basis of the employee’s wage payment (i.e. hourly, weekly, salary, commission, other);
  • Any allowances claimed against the minimum wage (tip credit, meal credit, lodging allowances, etc.);
  • The employers principal place of business, or mailing address (if different);
  • The employer’s telephone number; and,
  • Additional employer information, such as the official name of the business and all “doing business as” names.

Employers are also required to obtain signed acknowledgements from each employee, which memorializes the employee’s receipt of his or her wage notice. These signed acknowledgements must be retained by employers for six years. Furthermore, if an employee’s primary spoken language is Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish or Russian, employers must provide the WTPA wage notice to the employee in both English and the employee’s primary spoken language. Employers may obtain a sample WTPA wage notice and sample wage notices in Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish or Russian from the New York State Department of Labor (NY DOL) web site, available here.

Although employers are not required to use the NY DOL sample WTPA wage notices, it is highly recommended that the NY DOL forms be adopted, or we can assist your business in adapting the samples for your business needs, including providing them electronically where lawful. Employers have been required to provide these notices to all new hires and upon a change in pay since the Act’s effective date on April 9, 2011.

The penalties for failing to comply with these notice requirements can be severe. In addition, employees who fail to receive WTPA wage notices have a private right of action and can sue their employer. Each employee who establishes that he or she did not receive a WTPA wage notice may be able to obtain up to $2,500 in a civil lawsuit.

Finally, the WTPA’s increased damage provisions, anti-retaliation provisions, pay stub provisions and payroll record provisions remain in full force and effect. The WTPA increased criminal and civil penalties for employers who violate the New York Labor Law and now provides for prejudgment interest and 100 percent liquidated damages. More information about these requirement can be found in our April 2011 Client Alert, available here.

For more information about this Alert, please contact Carolyn D. Richmond at [email protected] or another member of the Fox Rothschild LLP’s New York Labor & Employment Department.

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