Cuomo Announces Multi-Agency Task Force
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a multi-agency task force of approximately 200 investigators to enforce state minimum wage laws. Agencies included in the Minimum Wage Enforcement and Outreach Unit would include the state Department of Labor, Department of Taxation, Worker’s Compensation Board, and the Department of State.
State investigators will enforce the new minimum wage law by responding to complaints by workers, and conducting proactive investigations. Investigators from state agencies will prioritize minimum wage education and enforcement activities. Employers are subject to a fine of $3 for every hour that they fail to pay the proper minimum wage to an employee. They must also pay back wages plus 100 percent of liquidated damages, in addition to 100 percent civil penalties. The Department of Labor can conduct an audit of an employer's entire workforce and the wages paid.
Education & Outreach:
The Minimum Wage Enforcement and Outreach Unit will offer minimum wage regulation training sessions and webinars to key stakeholders across the state to help businesses identify pay rates for their employees. The task force will work with regional chambers of commerce and businesses improvement districts; immigrant small businesses; labor unions; industry groups and worker advocacy groups. Assistance will be available to both workers and businesses, including those for whom English is not their first language.
Tools for Determining Wages:
The state has created an online tool for employers and workers to determine what the minimum wage is for their particular industry/region of the state (see HR One’s previous reporting on the minimum wage). The tool is available at ny.gov/MyWage. Minimum wage can be affected by the date, the location of employment and any tips that may be received. The tool may not cover additional aspects of the minimum wage law that could result in further adjustments to pay. Additional questions may be submitted using the Minimum Wage Hotline, 1-888-4-NYSDOL (6-9-7-3-6-5).
What Should Employers Do?
First employers should make sure they are complying with all applicable minimum wage laws in paying their employees. This includes making sure the latest minimum wage poster is displayed in the workplace. HR One clients can log-in above to access this poster.
Employers should also make sure that if they need to adjust any employee’s wages they should communicate to employees that they will see a change in their wages, the reason for the change, and offer them an opportunity to make any changes to their withholdings.