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Notice and Record-Keeping Requirements Under New York Labor Law

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As one of the most populous and economically significant states in the country, New York has a complex web of labor laws aimed at protecting workers’ rights and ensuring fair and accurate compensation. Among these laws are notice and record-keeping requirements that employers must comply with to avoid penalties and/or civil liabilities. This article will delve into some of the specifics of these requirements.

New York law requires employers to provide written notice of an employee’s rate of pay, regular payday, and other relevant information at the time of hiring. The notice must be provided in both English and the employee’s native language, if different, and if the state has provided a template for the translation of such notice. Employees must also sign a statement acknowledging their receipt of the notice. The employer must keep the signed and dated notice and acknowledgment for at least six years, and it must give the employee a copy. The written notice to the employee must contain the following information:

  • The employee’s rate of pay including overtime rate, if applicable;
  • The basis of the rate of pay (such as, for example, by the hour, day, week or by salary or commission);
  • Any allowances the employer intends on taking as part of the minimum wage, such as a tip or meal credit;
  • The regular payday, which must comply with requirements set forth in New York’s Labor Law;
  • The name of the employer, including any d/b/a;
  • The address of the employer’s main office or place of business and a mailing address, if different;
  • The employer’s phone number; and
  • “Such other information” as New York’s Labor Commissioner “deems material and necessary.”[1]

An employee or the Commissioner of the Department of Labor may bring legal action against employers who fail to provide the above notice within ten (10) business days of an employee’s first day of work. Either may recover from the employer $50 for each workday that a violation occurs, with a maximum recovery of $5,000 plus attorneys’ fees.

On each payday, employers must also provide detailed wage statements or paystubs to employees containing the following information:

  • The dates of work covered by that payment;
  • The employee’s name;
  • The employer’s name, address, and phone number;
  • Pay rate and the basis of the pay rate (such as, for example, hourly, daily, or weekly, or salary or commission);
  • Gross wages;
  • Deductions;
  • Allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage; and
  • Net wages.

For employees who are paid hourly (i.e., non-exempt employees), the wage statement or paystub must also contain the following information:

  • Regular hourly rate of pay;
  • Overtime rate of pay;
  • Number of regular hours worked;
  • Number of overtime hours worked, if any; and
  • For employees paid on a piece rate, the applicable piece rate of pay and the number of pieces completed at each such piece rate. (Piece work is any type of employment in which a worker is paid a fixed piece rate for each unit produced or action performed, regardless of time. Some industries where piece rate pay jobs are common are agricultural work, cable installation, call centers, writing, editing, translation, truck driving, data entry, carpet cleaning, craftwork, garment production, and manufacturing.[2])

Employees who fail to provide wage statements will be subject to civil action by either or both the employee and the Department of Labor. Recovery could be $250 for each workday the violation occurs, up to a maximum of $5,000, plus attorneys’ fees.

Furthermore, employers must maintain for at least six (6) years accurate payroll records that show, for each employee, the following information:

  • Name, address, and social security number;
  • Actual hours worked for each workday;
  • The number of weekly hours worked;
  • Pay rate and the basis of the pay rate (such as, for example, hourly, daily, or weekly, or salary or commission);
  • Gross wages;
  • Deductions;
  • Student classification;
  • Tip credits, if any, claimed as part of minimum wage; and
  • Net wages paid.

For non-exempt employees, employers’ payroll records must also contain the following information:

  • Regular hourly payrate;
  • Overtime rate;
  • Number of regular hours worked;
  • Number of overtime hours worked, if any; and
  • For employees paid on a piece rate, the applicable piece rate of pay and the number of pieces completed at each such piece rate.

There are two other related notice requirements: First, an employer must notify its employees about various employee benefits, including but not limited to sick leave, personal leave, vacation, holidays, and work hours. These notices can be made in writing—typically through an employee handbook—or by conspicuous public posting in the workplace. Second, employees must provide terminated employees with a termination notice within five (5) business or working days of termination. Termination does not only mean firing—it can also mean quitting, resigning, being laid off, etc. The termination notice must include the exact date of termination and the exact date of the cancellation of any employee benefits. If accident or health insurance are part of an employee’s benefits, the failure to give an employee a notice of termination of such benefits can subject the employer to fines of up to $5,000.

New York Labor Law is complex. Employers must take notice and record-keeping requirements seriously to avoid legal liabilities, penalties, and—importantly—to be prepared in the unfortunate event of a lawsuit. Diligent record-keeping can make the biggest difference in the outcome of employment litigation. Moreover, by providing proper notice and wage statements, maintaining accurate records, and fulfilling notice requirements, employers can help ensure compliance with the Labor Law and protect the rights of their employees. At KI Legal, our labor & employment attorneys have extensive experience navigating the intricacies of New York’s labor laws. If you are a business owner with any questions or concerns regarding what we discussed here today, contact our team to assist you. Call (212) 404-8644 or email for a free consultation today.

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[1] N.Y. Lab. Law Sec. 195(1)(a)

[2] Gittleman, M., & Pierce, B. (2015). Pay for Performance and Compensation Inequality: Evidence from the ECEC. ILR Review, 68(1), 28–52.