FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
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:
- Expand the entities which must pay workers prevailing wages to include public utility companies;
- Require third parties to acknowledge their obligation to pay prevailing wages by way of a written agreement and to produce payroll
records showing proper payment; and
- Increase penalties associated with failure to pay the prevailing wages and the failure to file payroll records.
"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:
- Allow employees to inspect payroll records to ensure they are being properly paid;
- Allow employees, the commissioner of Labor, or employer representatives to bring an action against employers for underpayment
of wages and to collect liquidated damages and attorney's fees;
- Increase penalties associated with non-payment of wages, payroll record-keeping violations and certain notice requirements under
New York's wage and hour law;
- Increase anti-retaliation protections to ensure that workers are not punished for exercising their rights under the labor law;
- Allow the Department of Labor to tag items manufactured by employers in violation of the labor law;
- Provide a means to calculate lost wages for the benefit of underpaid employees in cases where employers failed to keep payroll
- Protect employees from being forced to sign agreements giving up their rights under the labor law.
"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."