This post is part of a new series that specifically discusses employment law issues for startups and small businesses operating in New York State and New York City.
It’s been almost ten years since the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) took effect in the State of New York, but many employers still don’t provide the appropriate notice of pay rate and pay day to their new hires. Employers that do not give notice may have to pay damages up to $50 per day, per employee, unless they paid employees all wages required by law. The damages are capped at $5,000 per employee in civil lawsuits filed by employees.
Specifically, the WTPA requires employers to give written notice to each new hire that includes:
- 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 “doing business as” names used for the employer
- Address and phone number of the employer’s main office or principal location
- Allowances taken as part of the minimum wage (tip, meal and lodging deductions)
Form of Notice
Employers may provide their own notices containing the required information or they may use the sample notices provided by the New York Department of Labor. The notice must appear in English and in the employee’s primary language (if the NY DOL offers a translation). The NY DOL currently offers translations in the following languages: Spanish, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish and Russian.
Employers must have each employee sign and date the completed notice, and provide a copy to each employee. Employers must maintain the signed notices for six years.
Updated Notices Required
If any of the information in the notice changes, employers must tell employees at least one week before the change happens, unless they issue a new paystub that carries the notice. Employers must also notify employees in writing before they reduce the employee’s wage rate. Employers in the hospitality industry must notify employees every time any change in wage rate (that is, an increase or decrease) occurs.
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