New York State Department of Labor Issues Guidance on New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act

April 5, 2011

In our "Precedents and Predictions: A Review of 2010's Significant Labor and Employment Law Developments and What to Expect in 2011" seminar, held on February 3, 2011, we provided information regarding the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (the "Act") and mentioned that the New York State Department of Labor had not yet provided templates or guidance on certain procedural issues related to implementation of the Act. The Department of Labor has now provided notice and acknowledgment templates for use in complying with the Act as well as other guidance, just in time for the Act's April 9, 2011 effective date.

As a reminder, the Act requires all private sector employers with employees in New York State to provide New York employees with notices containing certain information at the time of hire, and again between January 1 and February 1 of each subsequent year of employment. Therefore, employees hired on or after April 9 must receive the new notice. Current employees need not receive the new notice until February 1, 2012. Employees must provide a signed acknowledgment when they receive the notice, which the employer must preserve for six years.

The notice and acknowledgment forms must be provided in English and in the employee's primary language (when a template is not available in a particular language, an English-only form will suffice). The Department of Labor has indicated that templates will be available in English, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish, but only English, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish templates have been issued at this time. They can be found here.

For your convenience, we have linked you to the English notice and acknowledgment templates for exempt employees and hourly rate employees . Also available are instructions issued by the Department of Labor regarding the templates. Please note that the Department of Labor's templates are just samples; employers may develop their own forms as long as they contain all of the information required by law.

The Department of Labor also has issued guidelines and frequently asked questions regarding the Act. Please note the answer to question 14 of the frequently asked questions, which states that notice can be given electronically so long as the employee can acknowledge the receipt of the notice and print out a copy of the notice.

If you have any questions regarding the Act, please do not hesitate to contact us or any other lawyers with whom you work in our New York Labor and Employment Practice.