Enforcing New York's New Minimum Wage to Be Priority of 200-Plus Investigators

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

January 9, 2017

New York has launched a Minimum Wage Enforcement and Outreach Unit tasked with enforcing the state's new minimum wage law.

Enforcing the minimum wage law "by ensuring businesses are held accountable, responding to complaints by workers, and conducting proactive investigations" will be the priority of more than 200 specially trained investigators from a number of state agencies, including the Department of Labor, Department of Taxation, Workers Compensation Board and the Department of State.

New York recently established a patchwork of six separate minimum wages that varies depending on an employer's location, size and industry. Changes to the credit for tipped employees, the meals and lodging allowance and uniform-maintenance pay also took effect recently.

Employers are subject to a fine of $3.00 for every hour that they fail to pay the proper minimum wage to an employee. They also must pay back wages plus 100 percent of liquidated damages, in addition to 100 percent civil penalties. The New York Department of Labor can conduct an audit of an employer's entire workforce and the wages paid.

Besides launching the Minimum Wage Enforcement and Outreach Unit, New York also is publicizing a new web page intended to help employees determine the minimum wage they should be paid by their employer under the new law and a new hotline, 1-888-4-NYSDOL, through which employees may file complaints.