Happy New Year! On December 29, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed into law an amendment to the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act which repeals the requirement of annual notices of wages to all current employees. Prior to this repeal employers were required to notify their employees in writing of their wage rates before February 1st of each year.
The amendment relieves employers of this widely criticized requirement. The amendment to repeal had been circulating within the New York State government for the past year, but it is now finally law. Although the repeal does not officially take effect until February 27, 2015, the Department of Labor has publically stated that, “given the pending enactment of this chapter amendment, the Department will not require annual statements in 2015.” Thus, employers need not distribute Wage Theft Prevention Act Notices this year to current employees.
Employers are still required to provide pay notices to new hires, and for current employees following a change in their wage rate. Moreover, the amendments actually increase the penalties for failing to provide required notices. Employers can now face a penalty of $50 per worker, per work week, up to $5,000 for failing to provide notice. In addition the amendment increases penalties for failing to provide employees with wage statements with each wage payment to $250 for each workday up to a maximum of $5,000.
Overall this is a positive development for employers who are now relieved of the burden and headache of providing annual notices. However, due to increased penalties, employers should assure that all new hires are given the “Wage Theft Prevention” pay notices, and that their wage statements (pay check stubs) show all required information.