Last year, New York amended its wage deduction statute and greatly expanded categories of permissible deductions from employees’ pay. In addition to statutory deductions and deductions for health and welfare plans which have traditionally been permissible, New York employers may now deduct wages for the benefit of the employee, including the following:
- insurance premiums and prepaid legal plans;
- contributions to a bona fide charitable organization;
- purchases made at events sponsored by a bona fide charitable organization affiliated with the employer where at least twenty percent of the profits from such event are being contributed to a bona fide charitable organization;
- United States bonds;
- dues or assessments to a labor organization;
- discounted parking or discounted passes, tokens, fare cards, vouchers, or other items that entitle the employee to use mass transit;
- fitness center, health club, and/or gym membership dues;
- cafeteria and vending machine purchases made at the employer’s place of business and purchases made at gift shops operated by the employer, where the employer is a hospital, college, or university;
- pharmacy purchases made at the employer’s place of business;
- tuition, room, board, and fees for pre-school, nursery, primary, secondary, and/or post-secondary educational institutions;
- day care, before-school and after-school care expenses;
- payments for housing provided at no more than market rates by non-profit hospitals or affiliates thereof; and
- similar payments for the benefit of the employee.
Importantly, employers will now be able to make deductions for unintended overpayments due to mathematical or clerical errors as well as for repayment of advances upon written authorization by the employee. The New York Department of Labor has issued proposed wage deduction regulations interpreting Labor Law Section 193, and final regulations are expected to be published soon.