United States: Reminder For N.Y. Employers: Significant Labor Law Amendments Take Effect February 27

Last Updated: February 24 2015
Article by Cindy Schmitt Minniti and Mark S. Goldstein

Most Read Contributor in United States, October 2017

As we previously reported, the New York State Legislature last June passed a Bill, intended to revitalize the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), that proposed significant changes to the state's labor laws. Among other things, the Bill eliminated the requirement that employers furnish annual wage notices to employees between January 1 and February 1. On December 29, 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Bill into law, with an effective date of February 27, 2015.

With the Bill set to take effect in just a few days, Empire State employers should familiarize themselves with its requirements and obligations. The following is a summary of the Bill's most significant provisions:

Elimination of the Annual Wage Notice for N.Y. Employers

Initially enacted in 2010 to curb wage payment abuses, the WTPA required employers to furnish written wage-related information – including pay rate, employer intention to claim an allowance, overtime entitlement and applicable rate and regular payday – to all existing employees between January 1 and February 1 of each year, and to all new hires upon commencement of employment.

In a welcome move for employers, the Bill eliminated the WTPA's annual wage notice requirement. As we previously explained, this was the only provision of the Bill that took effect December 29, when Gov. Cuomo signed it into law.

Increased Penalties for Other WTPA Violations

The WTPA originally sought to combat employee misclassification. Recognizing that the annual wage notice obligation failed to achieve this, lawmakers strengthened other WTPA provisions. Despite abolishing the annual notice, the Bill still requires employers to furnish wage notices to all new hires, and increases the penalties for non-compliance.

Originally, the WTPA levied a $50 penalty – per workweek, per worker – against an employer that failed to provide a wage notice upon commencement of the employment relationship, up to $2,500. As amended by the Bill, the WTPA now imposes a $50 penalty – per workday, per worker – against an employer that fails to provide a wage notice within the first 10 days of employment, up to a maximum assessment of $5,000.

The Bill also increases the penalties for employers that fail to provide employees with a written statement identifying the employee's pay rate and related information with each wage payment, as required by the WTPA. Under the Bill, the affected employee and the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) may now recover $250 per workday from delinquent employers, also subject to a $5,000 cap.

An employer facing sanctions for failure to provide compulsory wage notices or wage statements may still evade liability by proving: (1) that it made complete and timely payment of all wages to the affected employee(s), or (2) that it reasonably believed, in good faith, that it was not required to provide the notice or statement to the employee. The employer bears the burden of establishing each of these affirmative defenses.

Despite these affirmative defenses, employers should be sure to provide timely wage notices to new employees, and wage statements to new and existing employees alike. The penalties for noncompliance are now greater than ever.

Creation of New Successor Employer Liability

In addition to augmenting the WTPA, the Bill creates new successor liability for certain entities. Specifically, it provides that an employer similar in operation and ownership to an entity that previously committed labor law violations will be held accountable for the acts and liabilities of the predecessor entity. For purposes of the Bill, the successor employer will be deemed the "same employer" as its predecessor where "the employees of the new employer are engaged in substantially the same work in substantially the same working conditions under substantially the same supervisors, or if the subsequent employer has substantially the same production process, produces substantially the same products and has substantially the same body of customers." We anticipate disputes regarding the inherent ambiguity of this language and its practical application.

The successor liability clause effectively precludes companies from restructuring operations, or dissolving and creating a new entity with the same business purpose, to sidestep wage-related liability. Entities can no longer merely switch names or corporate identities to elude the NYSDOL's grasp.

Imposition of Individual Liability for Certain LLC Members

Consistent with its stated purpose of "provid[ing] additional protections for employees against wage theft," the Bill amends the New York Limited Liability Company Law by specifying that the 10 members of a New York LLC with the largest ownership interests may be held personally liable for any unpaid wages. This provision echoes a similar obligation already embodied in the Business Corporation Law, pursuant to which employees may recover unpaid compensation from the 10 largest shareholders of a corporation.

However, in order to recover wages from an LLC member, an employee must first provide prior written notice to such member. In addition, any action to collect unpaid sums from an LLC member must be commenced within 90 days after "the return of an execution unsatisfied against the Limited Liability Company upon a judgment recovered against it."

Like the creation of new successor liability, the amendment to the Limited Liability Company Law provides an avenue for employees and the NYSDOL to seek redress where an entity is dissolved or restructured, or where it simply attempts to eschew its wage payment obligations.

Increased Penalties for Repeat Wage and Hour Offenders

One of the Bill's primary emphases is on preventing repeated violations of the wage and hour laws. For instance, if the NYSDOL issues an order directing payment of wages for a "repeated, willful, or egregious violation," the errant employer must now report to the NYSDOL certain employee and wage data, which the department will in turn post on its website. The required data includes: (1) the number of permanent and temporary full-time and part-time employees, and the number of temporary staffing agency employees rendering services to the company; (2) the respective hourly pay rates of such employees; and (3) the number of hours worked by such employees during the relevant calendar period, organized in five-hour and 10-hour increments. Given that the Bill does not discern between exempt and nonexempt employees, compliance with the latter two requirements may prove especially challenging.

In another measure intended to deter recidivism, the Bill doubles the maximum civil penalty – from $10,000 to $20,000 – for employers found to have committed a second labor law violation within a six-year period.

It remains unclear how these provisions will affect employers who agree to settle administrative claims pending before the NYSDOL, or how they will affect the threshold decision of whether to settle. What is clear, however, is that employers should strive to avoid falling prey to these sanctions.

Contractors Must Provide Written Notice of Violations

Another statutory change intended to safeguard against wage theft is that construction contractors and subcontractors found to have violated the labor law must notify all of their respective employees of the violation(s). Notification must be made via paycheck attachment in a form and manner to be determined by the NYSDOL.

How Does This Affect My Company?

Once it takes effect February 27, the Bill presents a mixed bag for employers. On one hand, elimination of the annual wage notice requirement eradicates a significant administrative headache. On the other hand, the vast majority, if not all, of the remaining provisions of the Bill are employee-friendly, intending to deter violations – especially repeated violations – of New York's wage and hour laws. To that end, expect the NYSDOL to waste little time effectuating its apparent mandate from the state legislature to vigorously prosecute wage and hour violations. Consequently, all New York employers, regardless of size, should immediately review their wage payments practices to ensure compliance with both the WTPA and the Bill.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.