The NYS Wage Theft Prevention Act was signed into law in April 2011. This act amends Section 195 of the NYS Labor Law to require all private employers to provide notice to employees of their rate(s) of pay and designated pay day.
The notice must be provided at the time of hire (a written work agreement with the appropriate language will serve this function) and annually on or before February 1 of each year of employment. Additionally, notice must be provided within 7 days of a change in pay rates if the change is not listed on an employee's pay stub. The best practice is to state the employee's pay rate(s) in rate per hour terms, as household employees (nannies, housekeepers, elder care providers) are non-exempt employees under federal and state law and must be paid an agreed amount for every hour on duty.
When using a payroll service such as HomeWork Solutons' NaniPay, pay stubs will be compliant so long as the employer has provided the appropriate hourly rate information in the employee profile. If there are multiple rates (commonly hourly and overtime) these must and will be listed.
Many household employers pay a 'flat rate' to their household employee for the work performed. Protect yourself - take the time to translate this into an hourly rate. For example, you pay your housekeeper $150 a visit to clean your home. She typically spends about 5 hours in your home, but may on occasion stay a bit longer. Again, protect yourself. Estimate the MOST time the task might take. Let's say 6 hours in this example. State the hourly rate as $25/hour and guarantee a minimum of $150 per visit. Note your housekeeper's time of arrival and time of departure, or have the housekeeper leave this information for you every visit. Keep the records. Your housekeeper still gets the same pay, she still has incentive to complete the job as quickly as possible - she will be paid the same regardless. And you have protected yourself against wage and hour complaints AND are compliant with the Wage Theft Prevention Act. There are many organizations in New York and nationwide dedicated to informing household workers of their legal rights. It is prudent for the household employer to put the minimal effort needed into properly documenting the work arrangement, pay arrangement, and the calculation of payroll.
The first legally required notice must be provided between January 1 and February 2 2012. NYS' FAQ on the Wage Theft Prevention Act specifically states that an employer may not choose another time of the year to provide the notice!
New York household employers, may we remind you that in addition to the pay rate documentation issues above, you are also required to maintain accurate and contemporaneous time tracking records, pay your employee on a weekly basis, offer paid time off, pay overtime, and other responsibilities as required by the NY Domestic Employee Bill of Rights (linked below).
- 10 Tips: NY Domestic Workers' Rights
- Wage Theft Prevention Act Frequently Asked Questions
- Hourly Pay Rate Calculator (translates 'salary' to hourly rate terms)
- New York Domestic Employer's Bill of Rights FAQ
- Common Legal and Payroll Mistakes of Household Employers