On August 5, 2008, New York Governor David Paterson signed legislation that requires employers to post a copy of Article 23 A of the correction law relating to the employment of persons with a criminal conviction.
Every New York employer needs to understand that in 2007 a number of changes to the labor laws were made. In 2007, for the first time in ten years, the federal minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour as a result of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. At least ten states increased their state minimum wage on the same day.
Many labor law poster changes throughout the nation related to minimum wage increases this year, or next year. West Virginia and Illinois will increase their minimum wages on July 1, 2008. Illinois’s current minimum will jump from $7.50 to $7.75, and West Virginia’s will go up from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.
On July 24, 2008, the new federal minimum wage of $6.55 will be introduced. States like Texas, Nebraska and others that tie their state minimum wage to the federal minimum wage will bump up their state minimum wage.
It is crucial for every employer in the state to update their New York labor law posters for 2008.
The New York Labor Law Posters that every employer is required to display are:
- Clean Indoor Air Act
- Workers’ Compensation
- Unemployment Insurance
- Disability Benefits
- Discrimination Notice
- Time Off to Vote Notice
- Minimum Wage
- Child Labor
In addition, employers are required to display the following posters by federal law:
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
- Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law
- Federal Minimum Wage
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- OSHA-Job Safety & Health Protection
Several states including Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and others established laws that provide an annual cost-of-living increase for the state minimum wage. States often tie this increase to the Consumer Price Index for urban and clerical workers. Florida just recently passed such a law and will apply their first “cost of living” raise on January 1, 2008, bumping their current wage from $6.65 to $6.79 per hour.
During the 2007, several other states, including Utah, Washington, Oregon, and West Virginia increased their state minimum wage. Both state and federal law require that every employer prominently display the posters in an area where they can been seen by every employee. Popular locations are a bulletin board, near the time clock or in the break room.
2007 also saw other changes that required employers to update their labor law posters. Employers in Ohio had to post new no-smoking signs at all entrances as a result of the establishment of tough new ban on smoking in the workplace.
Washington, Oregon, Texas and several other states raised their state minimum wages in 2007.
The rank of highest state minimum wage goes to Washington at $8.07 as of January 1, 2008. California and Massachusetts aren’t far behind each with $8.00 per hour. Oregon’s wage ranks in the top five with $7.95 per hour.
There’s not much difference among the state minimum wages in the top five, but the difference across the country is amazing. The state minimum wage in Kansas hasn’t budged since the 1980s, and ranks as the lowest at $2.65.
As a result of these changes, companies need to take the time to update their labor law posters by the end of this year. Failure to update the posters with the new information can result in a fine for the employer.
The most common reason for employers to update posters includes statute changes, especially to minimum wage laws. In just the past few months, employers in New Hampshire, Nevada and Maine have updated their labor law posters as the state minimum wages changed. The most recent increase was on October 1, 2007 when the New Hampshire minimum wage increased to $6.50 per hour.
Five Long Island, New York restaurants that are jointly operated were ordered to pay almost $1 million in overtime and back wages to employees, under federal Department of Labor lawsuits.
Seven company officers have been ordered to pay $966,046 in overtime, plus a penalty of $14,773 to resolve the five lawsuits.
“The department has made an intensive effort to protect low wage workers who may not know their legal rights under the federal labor laws,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. “In this case, we have secured nearly $1 million for 192 workers who were not being paid all the wages they had earned.”
An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division district office in Westbury, based on an anonymous tip, revealed that low-wage workers at the restaurants were being paid less than the federal minimum wage. In addition, the employees were often required to work long hours, without being paid overtime. The restaurants also failed to keep adequate records of the hours that employees worked.
Sources close to the case speculate that at least some of the payments went to servers who were paid less than the minimum wage, even during times when they earned little or no tips. Servers must be paid the minimum wage if their salary plus tips is less than the federal minimum. In addition, they must be paid time-and-one-half for overtime hours.
The U.S. Department of Labor filed five separate suits in the case, against Ital Pizza Corp. of Merrick, New York, Mister Gold Inc. of Plainview, New York, Millennium Foods Ltd. Of Westbury, New York, Tremezzo LLC of East Meadow New York and Nocera Restaurant Inc. of New Hyde Park New York. Individuals named in the suits include Anthony Branchinelli, Louis Branchinelli, Michael D’Abruzzo, Mauro Gallo, Fortunato Nicotra, Marco Nicotra and Franco Giambanco.
All the officers denied that they had violated any laws, but agreed to the settlement and back pay for employees.
The total payments included $164,810 to 34 employees of Ital Pizza Corp., $243,561 to 50 employees of Mister Gold Inc., $204,812 to 50 employees of Millennium Foods, $199,253 to 44 employees of Nocera Restaurant Inc. and $153,610 to 29 employees of Tremezzo LLC.
If the defendants fail to make any payments, the court will appoint a receiver with power to seize and liquidate the defendants’ assets to satisfy the back wage payment order. The defendants must orally advise employees, in English and Spanish, of their rights under the FLSA, the terms of the judgments and their right to engage in protected activities without fear of retaliation.
These employers, like all employers in the U.S. are obligated to prominently post federal and state minimum wage posters where they can be seen by every employee.
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) requires that employees be paid at least the minimum wage. Since July 24, 2007 the federal minimum wage is $5.85 per hour. In addition, the FLSA requires that employees who work more than 40 hours in one week be paid one-and-one half their usual rate for each hour in excess of 40. The law also requires that employers keep accurate payroll records to verify their payment practices.
This is just the most recent effort by the U.S. DOL to force employers to abide by the minimum wage laws.
In late July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced Desert Plastering, Inc., a Las Vegas Nevada firm, to pay nearly $1.2 million in back pay to 1060 employees. The feds found that Desert Plastering had not paid required overtime to lathers, finishers, plasterers and estimators who worked up to 58 hours per week.
In early July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced 107 subcontractors of KBR, Inc. of Virginia to pay some $1.5 million in back wages and benefits for up to 2,600 workers who participated in the Hurricane Katrina recovery project. The construction workers were involved in repairs to the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport Mississippi or the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.
Earlier this year, under a voluntary agreement to prevent a federal suit, Wal-Mart, Inc. agreed to pay $33 million in unpaid overtime wages to 86,680 employees throughout the nation. An internal audit revealed that the company had incorrectly classified some employees as “salary-exempt” when in fact they were entitled to overtime pay.
From one state to the next, we move with the greatest of ease, right, my loyal reader? The only thing holding us back is the 24 hours in the day. If we had more hours in the day, we could make who’s knows how much more money as successful business folks, and we could also train our workers to the full extent on their rights and responsibilities at the workplace.
As it is now, though, we know we don’t have all the time in the world to do both—run your business and constantly train your employees about workers rules and regulations, and safety and legal issues. That’s where the New York State Posters come in, if you are a New York state employer that is. (Other state employers, you can find the info you need on your state posters just by following the simple blog searching tips).
So if you’ve kept reading at this point, it’s safe to assume that you want to learn more about the New York State Posters. These are required by different government departments in the New York state. For instance, the New York State Posters required by the Division of Labor Standards in the New York state include the minimum wage poster, and the working hours for minors poster.
This last one in the New York State Posters must be in part prepared by the employer if he or she has minors working on site. In that case, the employer must write in the daily starting and stopping times for every minor on site, including time off for meals and breaks, for every day that the minors are working or will have to work.
There is also the notice for fringe benefits and hours posting, which also must be partially prepared by the employer. In this case, the employer must fill in what his or her fringe benefits are, as well as info on working hours, and also distribute a copy to all employees.
Part two of our multifaceted, massive undertaking to understand the New York Labor Law Posters leaves us looking back at the specific New York Labor Law Posters required by the New York Division of Labor Standards, as mandated by the state labors laws.
Last we looked at the New York Labor Law Posters, we talked about the working hors for minors posting and the minimum wage posting for the state of New York. We also touched upon the notice of fringe benefits and hours posting, and if you remember, for each of these postings in the New York Labor Law Posters, it required a little bit of effort on the part of the employer to fill in some info on these postings.
Not is the case with our next New York Labor Law Posters posting. This posting is the prohibited wage deductions and tip appropriation posting, which is required only by those employers who engage in the sale or provide the service of foods and beverages for human consumption. If you fit the bill, then please post this part of the New York Labor Law Posters, which is basically just a copy of the New York Labor Law Sections 193 and Section 196-d, which cover which wage deductions are prohibited and how tips should be appropriated.
Also on the list of New York Labor Law Posters include the postings from the Unemployment Insurance Division for the state and other agencies. These include the Unemployment Insurance Poster of the New York Labor Law Posters, and the workers’ compensation and disability benefits poster.
The former is based on guidelines put out by the Unemployment Insurance Division of the New York State Department of Labor, whereas the latter is specific to your workers’ comp insurance provider.
Another important part of the New York Labor Law Posters comes from the Division of Human Rights for the state, and that’s the Human Rights poster on anti-discrimination laws in New York.