If you have employees in New York, will you be in compliance with Labor Law Section 195.1's new notice requirements? Section 195.1 requires all New York employers to provide written notice to new employees of their pay rate and pay dates, among other information. If you have employees in New York, you are likely aware of the revised notice requirements for new employees, but are you aware of the requirement that, between January 1 and February 1 of each year (starting in 2012), employers must provide written notices to all New York employees?

Importantly, such notices must be provided both in English and in the "primary language" of the employee (if that primary language is one of the languages in which the NYSDOL has prepared such dual-language forms). Currently, the NYSDOL has prepared dual-language forms in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean, and intends to prepare such forms in Russian, Polish, and Haitian-Creole. As such, New York employers will need to discern the "primary language" of all New York employees prior to issuing such notices.

We recommend that any such "primary language" inquiry include statements that it is being made pursuant to New York law, and that the information provided will be used solely for the purpose of providing the required notices (and will not be used for any other purpose in connection with the employee's employment). If possible, employers should utilize human resources or payroll employees without hiring authority to be the repository of this information, so that decision makers will not have access to it.