The New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act imposes severe penalties on employers who do not comply.
In the past, section 195 of the New York Labor Law required employers to notify new employees of their pay rate overtime rate and payday. The new act greatly expands that requirement. It also requires that employees be given written notice of any change in terms of wages at least seven days in advance. In addition, it increases the damages for unpaid wages from 25% to 100% and imposes fines of up to $20,000 on employers for wage violations. Apr
Starting on April 9, 2011, New York employers will be required to provide notices to current employees each year. Even more restrictive, the state requires that the notices be in English and in any language that the employee designates as his or her primary language. Apparently, that means if an employee claims Navaho or Klingon is his primary language, the employer must furnish a copy in Navaho or Klingon.
Those notices must include:
· Whether the employee’s wages are based on the hour, week, shift, day, commission, piece rate or salary basis – or another basis.
· The employee’s (more…)
The New York Department of Labor recently issued a wage order for the hospitality industry. The action is a response to continued violations by employers including tip misappropriation and overtime violations. Many of the provisions are more strict than those required by the federal FLSA or Fair Labor Standards Act.
The new regulations went into effect on January 1, 2011. However, the New York Department of Labor will implement only limited enforcement through February 28, 2011.
The new wage order strictly limits payroll deductions a New York employer can take, in accordance with other recent policies. In addition, non-exempt hospitality employees must be hourly. While federal law permits an employer to pay non-exempt workers on a salary basis, the New York Hospitality Wage Order does not.
Important features of the new hospitality wage order:
Tipped employees who are not in foodservice, such as delivery persons and bellmen, must be paid at least $5.65 per hour, an increase of (more…)
This comes on the heels of news that the New York Department of Labor reached a settlement on January 27, 2010 with a Queens supermarket for not paying grocery baggers at all. Apparently, the food store required baggers to work for tips only, without any wages. When one employee complained that this was illegal, he was terminated.
The supermarket paid more than $300,000 in back wages to three baggers and reinstated the employee, under the terms of the settlement.
“It continues to frustrate me how employers can continue to flaunt the law and simply not pay their workers. We are glad that the employer agreed to pay workers the wages they owe them, and to reinstate the worker they fired,” Labor Commissioner Smith said.
The wage and hour changes proposed by the wage board were (more…)
The New York Labor Commissioner recently issued a ruling that non-exempt employees must be paid an hourly rate. This law is in contrast to the federal FLSA and most state laws, which permit an employer to pay any worker (exempt or non-exempt) by salary, as long as applicable minimum wage and overtime laws are followed. It applies to almost every employer in New York.
Although this new ruling has not yet gone into effect, every New York employer should be aware of it. As soon as the Labor Commissioner finalizes regulations, they will be published in 10 New York newspapers. Thirty days after publication, the new rules will go into effect.
When that happens, only exempt employees can be paid on a salaried basis under New York law. Because the Labor Commissioner has not yet (more…)
Effective January 1, 2010 the tipped minimum wage for food service workers in New York increased to $4.75 per hour. Under the same regulations, on January 1, 2011 the tipped minimum wage will increase to $5.00 per hour.
Restaurant owners should be prepared for further increases in the state tipped minimum wage. The Labor Commissioner has said that these two increases are just the first step in increasing the tipped minimum wage to the same level as the minimum wage for non-tipped employees, currently $7.25.
Several states including Washington already require that tipped employees be paid the same minimum wage as other workers.
Under the new regulations, the Labor Commissioner also requires that New York employers must inform workers of the tip credit to be taken. If an employer neglects to notify employees, no credit is allowed. This requirement for employers covered under the federal minimum wage law has now been extended to employees covered by the New York state minimum wage law. For example, (more…)