The "Wage Theft Prevention Acts ("WTPA") of New York and California both impose new requirements on employers beginning in early 2012. These laws require employers to provide detailed written notices to employees regarding their pay and related matters.
New York (Section 195 of the Labor Law)
Since April, 2011, New York's WTPA has required written notice containing certain detailed pay information to newly hired employees, both exempt and non-exempt. Beginning in 2012, all employees must receive this notice on an annual basis between January 1 and February 1 of each year.
This means that, in addition to the new hire paperwork that is already required, New York employers need to adopt a practice of providing the required wage notices to all employees during January of each year. The notice must include the employee's rate(s) of pay (including the overtime rate), the designated pay day, the employer's intent to claim tip or meal allowances as part of the minimum wage, and the basis of wage payment, (e.g., hourly, salary, commission, etc). The notice must also contain the employer's official and "doing business as" names and its address and phone number. Changes that are not reflected on the employee's next pay stub must be provided within 7 days. (Of course, reduction in wages requires prior notice). The notice must be provided in English and in the employee's primary language.
Employers must have each employee sign and date the completed notice. The employer must provide a copy to each employee.
Sample notices are available at the state agency website at http://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/ellsformsandpublications.shtm. Employers are not required to use the state form, but the notices must be on separate forms, i.e., not part of a broader letter or other document. Although notices may be provided electronically, the employee must be able to acknowledge receipt of the notice and print it out.
California (Labor Code Section 2810.5)
California's new WTPA is similar to New York's, but it applies only to non-exempt employees and only at the time of hire or when there is a change that is not reflected in the next paystub. Beginning January 1, 2012, all non-exempt employees at the time of hire must receive a written notice that includes the rate(s) of pay, including the overtime rate; the regular paydays; the name, including dba names, of the employer; the physical and mailing address of the employer; the employer's phone number; the name address and phone number of the employer's workers compensation carrier; and any information the Labor Commissioner deems "material and necessary." Any changes in this information must be made in writing within 7 calendar days unless it is apparent on the employee's next pay stub.
The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has published a template for this notice on its website: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/LC_2810.5_Notice.pdf.
California also has a new law requiring written commission agreements (AB 1396). Employers have until January 1, 2013 to comply with the new law, which requires that all employees who receive commissions have written and signed commission agreements which include how the commission is computed and paid. New York has had a written commission agreement requirement for salespersons since 2007.
California was particularly prolific in its passage of new employment laws for 2012. Two other new developments of particular note are the increased penalties for misclassification of independent contractors and the rquirement that an employer maintain an employee's health insurance during the entire four months of pregnancy leave.