Restaurant Owners and Other Small Business Owners Face another Year of Wage Theft Law Paperwork

Author: Hans & Associates, P.C.

By law, New York State tipped restaurant workers receive lower minimum wages than workers in other employment categories. However, the National Employment Law Project conducted surveys in 2008 that showed an estimated 37 percent of restaurant workers in New York received lower pay than the tipped worker minimum wage standard. These and other widespread violations throughout New York’s lower wage labor industry led to the initial passage of the New York Theft Wage Act in 2010. The act strives to protect New York’s low-wage workers, many of whom are restaurant industry employees.

Through Wage Theft Prevention Act, New York became a national leader in criminalizing wage theft, which is only a civil violation in many states. This law makes business owners subject to misdemeanor charges for violations.

After complaints from the restaurant industry about extensive, burdensome paperwork, in 2012, the NY Senate passed a bill to repeal the Wage Prevention Theft Act. However, the bill died in the Assembly Labor Committee and therefore failed to come to vote in New York State Assembly. Business owners must continue the cumbersome paperwork that requires them to provide all employees with an annual wage notification and explanation.

According to The Post Standard , the proposed repeal still included heavier punishments for employers who violated wage standards but it relaxed the administrative requirements of worker annual notification. Such wage information is already contained in pay stubs.  Currently employers in non-compliance with the notification requirement are subject to a $50 fine per employee.

Staying apprised of changes in the law is a never-ending task.  Most businesses today rely on the skills of their New York employment defense lawyers  to make sure they comply with regulations and avoid fines or lawsuits. Hans & Associates, P.C. has decades of experience and a particular interest in the restaurant industry.

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