Starting February 26, 2015, employers operating in the District of Columbia have a new regulation to contend with—the D.C. Amended Wage Theft Prevention Act (A20-426) (the “Act”).  The Act, which amends several existing D.C. wage and hour laws, including the Living Wage Act, Minimum Wage Revision Act, Wage Payment and Wage Collection Law, and Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, was originally signed into law last September (original here) [PDF].  However, on December 29, 2014, the mayor signed emergency amendments [PDF], which included clarifications and technical corrections. Then on February 3, the D.C. Council passed a resolution [PDF] and temporary amendments [PDF] to address several unintended consequences of the Act.

Because of the significant potential penalties and costs of non-compliance (employers are now subject to penalties for negligence, not just willful infractions), employers should act quickly to ensure they comply with the new law.  Below are three of the main provisions employers should be aware of:

1.  Expanded recordkeeping requirements

Previously, the Minimum Wage Revision Act required covered employers to keep records regarding, inter alia, the “hours worked” each day and each week by covered employees.  Under the Act, employers must now keep records of “precise time worked” by non-exempt employees. The Act does not specify what records would be sufficient to show precise time worked.  Additionally, the Act now requires employers to keep pay-related records for three years, or longer if the federal government has a longer prevailing standard that is identified in regulations issued pursuant to the Act.

2.  Pay notice and posting requirements

Under the Act, employers are required to give D.C.-based employees written notice of their wages.  Notices must be provided to current employees within 90 days of the Act’s effective date (i.e., May 27, 2015), to new hires at the time of hiring (effective IMMEDIATELY), and to any employees at the time any information in the notice changes.  The notice must include: (1) the employer’s name, address, and telephone number; (2) the employee’s regular payday, rate of pay and basis of that rate; and (3) the employee’s overtime rate of pay and exemptions from overtime pay, as well as other information that the mayor may require.  Information required for temporary staffing agencies is slightly different.  Employers must retain a copy of the notice, signed and dated by the employer and the employee acknowledging receipt.  Template notices are available on the D.C. Department of Employment Services website).

Additionally, a summary of the Act will be made available within 60 days; once the summary is available employers must post it pursuant to D.C. Code section 32-1009.

3.  Expanded obligations with respect to contractors and temporary staffing firms

General contractors/subcontractors and temporary staffing agencies/client employers will now be jointly and severally liable for violations of the Wage Payment and Collection Law, the Living Wage Act, the Minimum Wage Revision Act and the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, unless a contract between them that is already in effect provides otherwise.

In addition to these provisions, the Act expands available enforcement mechanisms and penalties and expands the prohibitions on retaliation against those claiming violations of the Act.  Employers should thus familiarize themselves with the Act (including the various amendments) and make sure they are in compliance.