July 1, 2010

Service Workers to Get Fair Wages, Employees Given Greater Access to Payroll Records in Assembly Legislation

Assembly Action Makes Significant Strides in Protecting Working New Yorkers

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Labor Committee Chair Susan John today announced that the Assembly passed measures instituting enforcement measures and safeguards to the prevailing wage law for service employees and enhancing wage protections under New York State Law.

Earlier today, the Assembly passed legislation expanding the rights of domestic workers.

"Legislation approved today would increase penalties for employers who fail to pay prevailing wage and institute protections so that workers are ensured wages they are entitled to under the law," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "It is crucial that we have measures in place to protect service employees and ensure that employers are disclosing payroll records."

"There is absolutely no reason for working men and women to be denied fair pay, and we need to remedy this injustice," said John (D-Rochester). "The measure passed today would mandate that public utilities be included under those entities which must pay workers a prevailing wage and require employers to give employees access to their payroll records. This will help to ensure that hard-working New Yorkers are not taken advantage of."

A measure approved by the Assembly today adds safeguards and enforcement tools to the prevailing wage law for service employees (A.10257-D/Gianaris). The legislation would:

"Too many hard working New Yorkers are in need of public assistance because utilities like Con Edison are denying them a fair wage," said Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens). "This legislation will cure this injustice and ensure that these dedicated men and women can adequately provide for their families."

Under current law, penalties for wage and hour violations under the labor law are so low that employers may find it actually more profitable to withhold wages or underpay an employee. The Assembly seeks to remedy this injustice by increasing penalties for such unscrupulous practices and making payroll records open to employees (A.10163-B/Heastie). The measure would:

"It's crucial that we level the playing field so that fair paying employers aren't at a competitive disadvantage to employers who underpay their workers," said Assemblyman Carl Heastie (D-Bronx). "The measure passed today prevents the good guys from being undercut by the bad guys. This legislation and enforcement would provide millions more in tax revenue for the state."