As reported earlier in a Kelley Drye Client AdvisoryNew York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law an amendment to the state’s Wage Theft Protection Act (“WTPA”), immediately eliminating the requirement that employers issue annual written wage notices to current employees before February 1 of each year.

Upon signing the reform measure into law, the Governor also issued a signing statement, accelerating the effective date of the provision and making clear that the annual notice requirement for employers is eliminated for the 2015 calendar year. The New York Department of Labor (“NYDOL”) also issued a notice on its website stating that the NYDOL “will not require annual statements in 2015.”

While employers are now relieved of the headache of providing wage statements to their current employees, the WTPA amendment signed into law by Governor Cuomo on December 29 brings stiffer penalties for non-compliance for many of the WTPA’s remaining requirements. Under the WTPA, employers must still:

  • Provide wage notices to all newly hired employees within 10 days of hire or face increased penalties from $50 per worker, per workweek, to $50 per worker, per workday, up to a maximum of $5,000;  
  • Comply with WTPA paystub requirements, with an increased $250 penalty per violation. The statutory cap for penalties on repeat offenders has also doubled to $20,000;  
  • Provide wage notices to employees in the hospitality industry whenever there is a change in the pay rate.  Note that the New York minimum wage has increased from $8.00 to $8.75, as of December 31, 2014, and the scheduled increase to $9.00 in 2015, means that hospitality employers will need to issue new pay notices in 2015 and 2016 for any minimum-wage employees, and thereafter, in subsequent years in which such increases take effect.