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NYS Requirements for Wages to Employees

New York State requires employers to provide certain wage information to employees at the time of hire and with each payment of wages thereafter. This law, the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), took effect on April 9, 2011. Here are some key provisions of the law that employers need to know. 

Written Notice

The law already required employers to give notice to employees of their wage rates at the time of hire. Now, the WTPA requires employers to give a written notice to each new hire. The notice 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 (tip, meal and lodging deductions)

In the past, the notices were in English. Now, the notice must appear both in English and in the employee's primary language (if DOL offers a translation).

Employers must have each employee sign and date the completed notice and must provide a copy to each employee.

• If any data in the notice changes, the employer must tell employees at least a week before it happens unless they issue a new paystub that carries the notice. The employer must notify an employee in writing before they reduce the employee's wage rate. Employers in the hospitality industry must give notice every time a wage rate changes.

• Employers that do not give notice may have to pay damages of up to $50 per day, per employee, unless they paid employees all wages required by law. (This stops at $5,000 per employee in civil lawsuits filed by workers.) 

Payroll Records

Under prior law, some of the record keeping requirements were in the statute, while others were in the regulations. Now, the requirements are part of the law, which makes it easier for employers to understand their obligations. However, industry-specific regulations will still have some additional requirements.

Employers must:

• Keep records for six years. Records include the new notice and acknowledgment and payroll records.

• Keep accurate records of hours worked by employees and wages paid. Now, the law clarifies that employers must keep the records on an ongoing basis. The employer may not make up the records after the fact at the end of the week, month or year.

• For each week an employee works, the payroll records must contain:

- Hours worked (regular and overtime)

- Rate or rates of pay (regular/overtime)

- How the employee is paid - by the hour, shift, day, week, commission, etc.

- Pay at the piece rate must show what rates apply and the number of pieces at each rate

- Employee's gross and net wages

- Itemized deductions

- Itemized allowances and credits claimed by the employer, if any (tip, meal and lodging allowances or credits) 

Wage Statements

Under the new law, employers must:

• Give each employee a wage statement or pay stub each payday that lists all of the above payroll data plus:

- Employee's name

- Employer's name, address and phone number

- Dates covered by the payment

• Give any employee who asks a written explanation of how they computed wages

Employers that do not give wage statements may have to pay damages of up to $250 per day, per employee, unless they paid employees all wages required by law. (This stops at $5,000 per employee in civil lawsuits filed by employees.) 

Compliance with these laws is not optional.  Failure to comply can result in actions by either the NYS Department of Labor or individual employees commencing suit to recover damages. For assistance with your compliance with other employer requirements, please contact our offices.

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