New York State Amends Employee Notice at Time of Hiring Requirements

September 22, 2009

On July 28, 2009, New York Governor David Paterson signed legislation that requires employers to give new employees at the time of their hiring written notification stating their rate of pay, overtime rate of pay and regular pay day. The new law requires the employer to obtain a written acknowledgement from employees indicating receipt of the notice. The legislation, effective for all employees hired on or after October 26, 2009, amends Section 195(1) of the New York Labor Law. In a statement in support of the legislation, the Legislature stated that by requiring employers to notify overtime-eligible employees of the regular hourly rate and overtime rate of pay, employees will be able to compute the overtime that they are entitled. As a practical matter, the change in the legislation will require the employer to determine, in advance, whether newly hired employees qualify for an overtime exemption. The determination whether an employee is eligible for overtime must be done in accordance with State and Federal overtime requirements. Failure to comply with this law can result in a civil penalty of up to $1000 for a first violation, $2000 for a second violation or $3000 for a third or subsequent violation. In assessing a violation, the size of the employer’s business, good faith of the employer, and history of previous violations are considered. New York employers should review and amend their policies to comply with this new legislation. For unionized employers, there is no indication of whether their labor agreement will suffice as the required notice. Employers should monitor future Department of Labor regulations for requirements on the specifics of the written notification and acknowledgement. For more information contact John R. Vreeland.