The Wage Theft Prevention Act, passed in April 2011, requires that all employers provide their employees with a written notice reiterating their pay rate and overtime rate (if applicable), regularly scheduled paydays, whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, week, piece, commission, salary, etc., and any intent to claim allowances (e.g., tip, meal or lodging allowances) as part of the employee’s minimum wage. In addition, the notice must include the employer’s name, any “doing business as” name, the employer’s physical address, mailing address (if different) and telephone number.

Employers are required to give employees written notice in both English and the employee’s native language and to obtain a written acknowledgment of receipt of the foregoing written notices from each employee on or before February 1st of each year. These forms must be filed by February 1st  of every year, even if the employee’s information remains the same. In addition, all employers must provide employees with at least seven calendar days’ notice of any changes to the information required to be disclosed by the foregoing written notices, unless such changes are reflected in new payroll wage statements accompanying employees’ pay. If the written wage notice is not provided by an employer to its employees, the employer shall be subject to penalties up to $2,500.

An employer’s obligations to provide payroll wage statements, accompanying employees’ pay, has also been modified by the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act. As of February 1, 2012, employers were required to provide wage statements to all of their employees with each paycheck specifying the: (1) dates of the applicable pay period; (2) employee’s name; (3) employer’s name, address and telephone number; (4) rate and basis of pay; and (5) allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage. For non-exempt employees, the statement must have also included the applicable regular and overtime pay rates, in addition to the number of regular and overtime hours worked during the pay period. Payroll records containing this information must be maintained by the employer for six years (up from three years). Noncompliance can result in assessed penalties and civil damages, up to $2,500.

To ensure compliance and avoid the significant penalties for violations, New York employers should carefully review and revise their payroll practices. These forms may be found at the following web address: http://www.labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/ellsformsandpublications.shtm