As employers in New York were gearing up for distribution of the annual wage notices in January 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo finally signed the amendment to New York's Wage Theft Prevention Act that was passed by the legislature back in June and repeals the annual wage notification provision. While the other amendments to the Act will not take effect for 60 days, the Governor's December 29, 2014 signing statement and the New York Department of Labor make clear that employers are not required to distribute wage notices to their employees this January. The amendment, however, does not relieve employers of their obligation to provide all newly hired employees with wage notices at the time of hiring. In addition, although not specifically addressed in the amendment to the Act, it would be prudent for employers to distribute a revised wage notice when an employee receives a new position with a different compensation structure during his or her tenure with the employer.
Although employers welcome the annual notice repeal, the stated purpose of the legislation is to provide additional protections to employees against wage theft. To that end, other changes covered by the bill include: increased penalties for employers who commit wage theft including increased penalties for failing to provide newly hired employees with wage notices, a specific provision that successor employers can be liable for the prior employers acts of wage theft, and a provision that the top ten members of a limited liability company will be personally liable for the liability of the limited liability company.
As we look forward to 2015, employers in New York can celebrate the repeal of the annual Wage Theft Prevention Act notice.