Employers in the District of Columbia subject to the Wage Amendment Act must post the Notice of the Act conspicuously in the workplace, as well as provide pay notice information to new hires and current employees.
The law requires that employers provide the pay notice to an employee in English and the employee’s primary language if the Mayor has issued a template in that language. The D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) has issued the English and Spanish versions of the sample template (available at: http://does.dc.gov/service/wage-and-hour-compliance); however, there are differences between the two Spanish-language forms (the Notice of Hire to Employees and the Notice of Hire for Temporary Staffing Firms) with respect to the words used to translate the same English-language phrases, even though the meaning appears to be the same. For example, there are various Spanish terms used in the forms for “allowances,” including “subsidios,” “indemnizaciones,” and “credito,” that would not change the meaning.
However, there are discrepancies between the DOES documents. In the Notice of Hire to Employees template:
- The Spanish version is titled, “Notice and Acknowledgement of Wage Rates,” while the English version is called, “Notice of Hire – Employment Status and Acknowledgement of Wage Rates”;
- Section 1 of the Spanish version, unlike the English version, asks for the business address in the right-hand column on the first page under “Employee,” and asks for the business address twice in the left-hand column under “Employer.”
- Section 3 of the English version provides in the line next to “meals,” “$___ per meal.” The Spanish version, however, in the line next to “meals,” is written “$___ por tiempo.” “Por tiempo” refers to a period of time.
- Section 5 of the Spanish version is missing three lines (there is no section to input the basis of pay and there are no check boxes).
- Section 8, which refers to the employee’s primary language, understandably differs between the English and Spanish versions. In the Spanish version, there is only an option to choose that the employee told the employer that his primary language is Spanish; while in the English version, there are options for other languages, and the employee is asked to certify that he received the notice in English. In addition, the Spanish version, unlike the English version, does not include space for the employer’s signature.
- The instructions in the last few pages of the English version are missing from the Spanish version.
Further, in the Notice for Temporary Staffing template, unlike the Notice of Hire to Employees template, Section 8 is the same for both the Spanish and English versions. This is odd because a person reading the Spanish version is being asked to certify that he or she has received the notice in English.
DOES has been alerted to these dissimilarities in the templates. Employers should make whatever modifications to the templates are necessary for their particular situations.