New York Governor David Paterson on Dec. 13 signed into law the Wage Theft Prevention Act (S.8380/A.11726), which seeks to ensure that employers pay statutorily mandated minimum wages and overtime. The law requires annual notifications of wages, expands those notifications, enhances available remedies for wage law violations and strengthens whistleblower protections.
In a statement from his office, Gov. Paterson said, “At a time when so many New Yorkers are living paycheck to paycheck, it is vital that we protect the right to receive their hard-earned pay and afford them every protection against wage theft. I am proud to sign this legislation, which will combat misconduct by unscrupulous employers who fail to pay statutorily mandated minimum wages and overtime. I commend the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Carl Heastie, for their efforts in securing passage of this bill.”
The Wage Theft Prevention Act:
- Enacts more stringent and transparent record-keeping and employee notification requirements;
- Increases the amount of wages that can be recovered as damages in a suit for non-payment over and above the lost wages themselves – from 25 percent to 100 percent, the amount allowable under Federal law;
- Creates stronger collection tools;
- Raises criminal penalties for failure to pay minimum wage to up to a year in prison and $5,000 fine; and
- Strengthens protections for whistleblowers in cases involving wage violations.
The bill will enact a wide-ranging series of measures to provide information to workers on the wages they are owed, and to heighten sanctions on those who fail to pay their workers the compensation to which they are entitled.