Wage and Hour Pitfalls Part 1: What You Need To Know

May 24, 2017

1. Employers Must Pay “Manual Workers” Weekly.

In New York, employers are required to pay manual workers weekly.  A “manual worker” includes “a mechanic, workingman or laborer” or individuals who spend more than 25% of working time engaged in physical labor.  “Physical labor,” according to the Department of Labor, includes “countless physical tasks” not just those that require heavy lifting or brute strength.

If you employ “manual workers,” you must issue paychecks weekly and pay them all wages owed within seven calendar days after the workweek ends.  For example, if your workweek ends on Friday, May 26, 2017, you must pay your manual workers for all hours worked during that pay period by June 2, 2017.  If you employ more than 1,000 employees, you may seek authorization from the Commissioner of Labor to pay less frequently.

2. Employers Cannot Require Direct Deposit.

Employers in New York may pay employees by cash, check, direct deposit, or payroll debit cards. However, Labor Law §192 prohibits employers from requiring non-exempt employees (those paid on an hourly basis) to accept wages by direct deposit or payroll debit cards without advance written consent from each employee.

In September 2016, the Department of Labor adopted new regulations regarding the notice and consent requirements. Legal challenges have delayed implementation of the new regulations.  Nevertheless, employers should continue to obtain written consent from employees before paying wages through direct deposit or payroll debit cards.

3. Prohibited Deductions From Employee Wages

New York employers are prohibited from making any deduction from employee wages that is not specifically listed in Labor Law §193.  Authorized deductions may be made for insurance premiums; pension, health or welfare benefits; contributions to a bona fide charitable organization; union dues; and other enumerated payments for the benefit of the employee.

Deductions are never permissible for the purchase of tools, equipment and attire required for work; recoupment of unauthorized expenses; or repayment of employer losses associated with spoilage and breakage; or repayment of employer fines or penalties incurred as a result of the employee’s conduct.

Consult with employment counsel if you have any questions about wage and hour practices in New York.

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