Majority Passes Historic Wage Theft Protection Act

 

Groundbreaking legislation ensuring all workers receive fair pay has been passed by the New York State Senate Majority. The legislation (S8380), sponsored by Senator Diane J. Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn), will enforce tough penalties for employers who fail to meet minimum wage requirements, protecting thousands of hard working men and women across New York State.
 
Every day countless workers across the state face rampant abuse on the job. Recent studies have found that a large number of employees are illegally earning less than minimum wage, while others are being paid less than their correct wage. Additionally, employees often do not receive the overtime pay they earn, and are left in the dark regarding their employers methods for calculating wages and benefits.
 
The resulting lost wages, tax revenue, and economic stability affect all New Yorkers.  Every dollar stolen from the hands of a worker is a dollar’s unfair advantage over the competition and a dollar’s absence from commerce in our neighborhoods.
 
Senator Savino said, “Mugging employees out of pay not only hurts families, it hurts communities.  It makes honest employers less competitive.  Businesses that are good citizens and pay their employees exactly what is owed them and on time, as is required by law, should not be at a disadvantage to companies that are illegally withholding wages from their workers. These rogue employers not only steal wages from hard-working families who are doing all they can to make ends meet during these difficult economic times, but also steal much-needed funds from our city and state coffers.”
 
Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said, “For decades, employees have seen their wages and overtime pay unfairly withheld by some unethical employers, and they have had little legal recourse. Fortunately, this legislation will change that. Senator Savino’s bill ensures those who work get paid, fairly and equitably.”
 
Senator Brian X. Foley (D-Blue Point) said, "Employers who violate wage requirements are hurting not only their employees but also their families and the economy as a whole. The protections provided by this bill will help to ensure our workers are receiving the wages they deserve and earn so that they have the ability to support their families."
 
Senator Antoine Thompson (D-parts of Erie and Niagara Counties) said, “What we’re talking about here is accountability. When employees are valued and respected by a company they in turn become a greater asset.  The goal is to establish a greater commitment on both sides, which I believe this bill allows.”
 
Under current law, there is little penalty for employers that violate wage requirements. However, this legislation will create tough penalties for violating employee rights in order to far better protect workers’ rights and interests. This expansive new legislation will protect workers in several new ways. There will be tougher enforcement of payroll and paystub requirements, greater authority granted to the Department of Labor and the Commissioner to enforce fair pay and increased penalties for liquidated damages.
 
For more information visit http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S8380.