Way back in 2011, the Wage Theft Prevention Act became law in New York State. The law requires employers to give written notice of wage rates to each new hire and must include:
- Rate or rates of pay, including overtime rate of pay (if it applies)
- How the employee is paid: by the hour, shift, day, week, commission, etc.
- Regular payday
- The official name of the employer and any other names used for business (DBA)
- Address and phone number of the employer’s main office or principal location
- Allowances took as part of the minimum wage (tips, meal and lodging deductions)
All private-sector employees in New York are covered (employees who work in other states are not covered). For more info see FAQs. Employers must give and employees must sign Notice and Acknowledgement of Pay Rate and Payday at hiring. In the past, penalties for breaking this rule could lead to fines of up to $10,000. Penalties can now go as high as $20,000, or the employer may have to pay the employee for lost salary or pay a lump sum in lieu of reinstatement.
Though this law has been on the books for close to a decade, now is a crucial time for ownership, management, and human resource departments to reacquaint themselves with it. The economic uncertainty related to the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in layoffs, furloughs, and wage reductions must be properly handled under New York State labor law, which generally leans towards the employee. Employers MUST give employees Notice and Acknowledgement of Pay Rate and Payday before any change in pay rates. So if revenue is down due to Covid-19 and employee wages are cut, and the employee doesn’t provide a wage acknowledgment form, the employer could be looking at the trouble from the Department of Labor.