On December 29, 2014, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law Assembly Bill 8106-C amending the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act (“the WTPA”). The amendment will provide a welcome reprieve from this administrative burden on New York employers. We previously posted about the proposed amendments here.

Following the 2010 enactment of the WTPA, New York employers were required to disseminate to employees, at the time of hire and annually before February 1, a notice containing wage-related information, including the employee’s rate of pay, the basis for the employee’s rate of pay, the employee’s regular pay day, and certain information about the employer. The WTPA also requires employers to collect and retain signed and dated employee acknowledgments of receipt of the annual wage notices. The bill signed by Governor Cuomo eliminates the annual wage notice distribution requirements, but continues to require distribution of the wage notice to new employees at the time of hire.

In his signed memorandum approving the bill, the Governor noted that the bill “contains some technical and substantive problems which the Legislature has agreed to address in additional legislation.” The Governor and the Legislature have reportedly agreed to a chapter amendment that would accelerate the effective date of the wage notice change to eliminate the 2015 requirement for employers. Under the current version of the Bill, the amendment will not take place until 60 days after the Governor’s approval (i.e., after the deadline to distribute the 2015 notices has passed).

In response to the Governor’s memorandum, the New York Department of Labor announced on its website that it will not require employers to distribute the annual wage notices in 2015.

Other than eliminate the annual notice distribution requirement, the Bill also will amend the WTPA as follows:

  • increase penalties for employers who fail to provide the wage notice to new employees;
  • increase the amount of damages that employees may recover in a civil action for violations of the Act;
  • increase the penalties for employers who fail to provide pay-rate information with each wage payment;
  • impose successor liability on employers who own and operate a predecessor entity that committed a prior labor law violation;
  • impose joint and several liability on certain members of a limited liability company (“LLC”) for violations of the WTPA; and
  • increase penalties for repeat offenders of the WTPA.

Employers are encouraged to review the New York Department of Labor’s website for more information about the Act and the upcoming amendments. We will continue to monitor the status of this important legislation and will post updates as they become available.