New York Wage Law Update10/07/2015 | By: David T. Azrin, Esq. | Winter 2015 Newsletter
ANNUAL WAGE NOTICES ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED
On December 29, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed a bill which amends the state’s Labor Law, to eliminate the burdensome annual wage notice requirement. Since 2011, New York employers were required to provide an annual wage notice every January to every employee, and to obtain an acknowledgement of the notice, even if the employee’s wage rate remained the same.
New York employers are still required to provide a written notice of wage rates to new employees when they are first hired, within ten days of the date of hire. The notice must include the rate of pay, the frequency of payment, the employer’s contact information, and any allowances taken as part of the minimum wage such as a tip credit or meal and lodging deductions. No separate notice is required when an employee’s wage rate changes, as long as the new rate is reflected on the employee’s pay stub.
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASED TO $8.75
As of December 31, 2014, the minimum wage in New York increased from $8.00 per hour to $8.75 per hour for 2015.
New York is one of twenty five states which impose a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage, which remains at $7.25 per hour (since July 2009).
Neighboring Connecticut imposes a minimum wage rate of $9.15 and New Jersey has a rate of $8.28. With respect to other populous states, California has a rate of $9.00, while Illinois has a rate of $8.25 and Florida has a rate of $8.05. Texas does not impose a rate higher than the federal minimum wage. In the Northeast, only Pennsylvania and New Hampshire do not impose rates higher than the $7.25 federal rate.
At the end of 2015, New York’s minimum wage will increase to $9.00 per hour.
LAW TIGHTENED TO IMPOSE LIABILITY ON LLC OWNERS AND SUCCESSOR COMPANIES
The new law adopted December 29, 2014, also amends New York’s Labor Law to make it more difficult for employers to try to avoid liability for wage violations by closing down or shifting operations to a new company.
Up until adoption of the law, New York imposed personal liability for wage violations on the ten largest shareholders of a closely held corporation, but did not impose similar personal liability on the owners of a closely held limited liability corporation (LLC). The new law closes this gap, by imposing personal liability on the 10 largest owners of a limited liability company (LLC).
The new law also seeks to block corporate owners from trying to avoid liability by transferring their company’s workers or operations to a new corporation. The new law says that a new corporation will still be liable for the wage violations of the prior company if a) the new company’s employees are engaged in substantially the same work in substantially the same working conditions under substantially the same supervisors, or b) the new employer is producing substantially the same products using substantially the same production process for substantially the same body of customers.
About the author: David T. Azrin, a partner at Gallet Dreyer & Berkey LLP, represents a range of business clients and individuals on employment, trademark, and franchise law matters. Mr. Azrin is the sponsor of the International Franchise Association’s franchise business network program in the New York City area, and has been named one of the top franchise attorneys (“Legal Eagle”) in the United States by the editorial board of Franchise Times magazine. Mr. Azrin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.