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New York State Wage Theft Rules and Prevention

Whether intentional or accidental, wage theft or inaccurately paying employees in New York can cost an employer dearly. So while it is important to use a payroll solution that ensures accuracy and helps you avoid errors, it is important to also understand employer requirements regarding New York State Wage Theft Prevention.

New York State Wage Theft Rules 

The New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) requires employers to give written notice of wage rates to each new hire as well as give notice when there are changes in the information on the pay notices.

It is strongly recommended to provide an updated wage notice to an employee each time there is a rate change. In the hospitality industry, it is a requirement to provide an updated wage notice each time there is a rate change.

 

New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) Notice Requirements

Employers can either use the model notice from the New York DOL, or provide their own notice. Notices must be given in duplicate; one notice for the employee to keep and one notice for the employer to file.

If the employer provides their own notice, it 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
  • 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 taken as part of the minimum wage (tips, meal and lodging deductions)

Employers must provide notices in English as well as the employee's primary language (if the Labor Department offers a translation). The Department currently offers translations for Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, and Russian.

 

2024 Updates to New York State Wage Theft Prevention

Governor Hochul recently signed legislative changes that will affect Article 6 under the New York Labor Law, which regulates how frequently employees must be paid, and the method in which they receive payment. Specifically, the updates revolve around New York State Wage Theft Prevention. 

As of March 13, 2024, the following updates have taken effect: 

  •  Expansion on who may file wage theft claims:
    • Employees who make less than $1,300 a week (including those who fall under executive, administrative, or professional exemptions) may bring forth wage theft claims in court or before the NY Department of Labor. Previously, only non-exempt employees who made $900 a week or less could bring forth wage theft claims in court or to the NYDOL.  
  • Required consent for direct deposit
    • Employers are now required to obtain employee consent before paying workers below $1,300 a week through direct deposit. 
  • Wage Theft Accountability Act 
    • Governor Hochul has also amended New York State’s Wage Theft Accountability Act to include “wage theft” in the definition of larceny. This means that wage theft is now considered a felony. Employers will be subject to criminal liability for any nonpayment or underpayment of employee wages.  

Violations to Article 6 can result in fines ranging from $500 to $20,000 per offense, depending on the severity of the violation.

 

Get Help Preventing Wage Theft

Employers who are concerned about wage theft should ensure that they have a modern payroll solution that can help ensure accuracy as well as reduce errors in payroll processing. 

Even accidentally withholding wages from an employee can land you in trouble. 

Employers may also want to consider contacting a New York HR Outsourcing company for assistance with employee onboarding and handbooks, getting ahead of things like wage theft and direct deposit consent. 

To learn more about EBC HCM's services and solutions, contact us today.

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