As of October 26, 2009, New York employers are now required to notify newly hired employees, in writing, of their rate of pay and the regular payday. (See newly amended New York Labor Law § 195.1.) Non-exempt employees that are eligible to receive overtime must also receive notice of their regular hourly rate and overtime pay rate. This new law, signed by Governor Patterson on July 28, 2009, further requires employers to obtain a written acknowledgement from each employee confirming receipt of the notice. Employers are permitted to include the specific language in an employee's offer letter, if any, instead of having to create a separate document, provided it complies with the requirements.
The Commissioner of Labor is charged with identifying the specific content employers must include in the written acknowledgment. Although the Commissioner has not yet set forth guidelines, based on the purpose of the new notice requirement (to ensure that employees understand their regular and overtime rates of pay), employers should craft their acknowledgement with an eye towards achieving that goal. Moreover, this requirement should encourage employers to review, and ensure, that employees are properly classified for overtime purposes, are being paid appropriately, and that employees' hours are appropriately tracked.
Failure to comply with the written notice and acknowledgment requirement can subject an employer up to $1,000 in civil penalties for a first violation, $2,000 for a second violation, and $3,000 for a third or subsequent violation. The requirements for providing notice and obtaining acknowledgements will be considered independent and separate violations. Therefore, it is important for employers to monitor and ensure compliance with this new law.
Please contact Gordon & Rees' New York office if you would like more information or to obtain assistance in drafting appropriate documents.