Bill Text: NY A07841 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Relates to clarifying provisions prohibiting wage theft; provides that there are no exceptions to liability for failure to pay wages.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 22-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-05-24 - referred to labor [A07841 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A07841-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                      May 24, 2019

        Introduced  by M. of A. SIMON -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Labor

        AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to wage theft

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section  1.  Legislative  findings.  Article  6  of the labor law, and
     2  sections 193 and 198(3) in particular, reflects New York's  longstanding
     3  policy  against  the  forfeiture  of earned but undistributed wages. The
     4  purpose of this remedial amendment is to clarify that: (a) the unauthor-
     5  ized failure to pay wages, benefits and wage supplements has always been
     6  encompassed by the prohibitions  of  section  193,  see,  e.g.,  Ryan  v
     7  Kellogg  Partners Inst. Servs., 19 N.Y. 3d 1, 16 (2012) (correctly hold-
     8  ing that employer's  neglect  to  pay  sum  that  constitutes  a  "wage"
     9  violated section 193); and (b) consistent with established principles of
    10  statutory  construction,  section  193 should be harmonized with section
    11  198(3)'s guarantee that "All employees shall have the right  to  recover
    12  full  wages,  benefits  and  wage supplements and liquidated damages." A
    13  wage is either owed or it is not. Employers have  a  statutory  duty  to
    14  provide  employees  with enough information to know how their employment
    15  compensation is calculated. The legislature thus finds  that  it  has  a
    16  responsibility to harmonize these two sections of the labor law to clar-
    17  ify  for  the courts once and for all that wage theft remains completely
    18  and without exception in violation of  statute  and  all  employees  are
    19  entitled to full wages, benefits and wage supplements earned.
    20    §  2.  This  act shall be known and may be cited as the "No wage theft
    21  loophole act".
    22    § 3. Section 193 of the labor law is amended by adding a new  subdivi-
    23  sion 5 to read as follows:
    24    5. There is no exception to liability under this section for the unau-
    25  thorized failure to pay wages, benefits or wage supplements.

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 7841                             2

     1    §  4.  Subdivision  3  of  section 198 of the labor law, as amended by
     2  chapter 2 of the laws of 2015, is amended to read as follows:
     3    3.  Notwithstanding  any  other provision of law, an action to recover
     4  upon a liability imposed by this article must be  commenced  within  six
     5  years.  The  statute  of  limitations  shall  be tolled from the date an
     6  employee files a complaint with the  commissioner  or  the  commissioner
     7  commences  an  investigation,  whichever  is  earlier, until an order to
     8  comply issued by the commissioner becomes final, or  where  the  commis-
     9  sioner does not issue an order, until the date on which the commissioner
    10  notifies  the complainant that the investigation has concluded. Investi-
    11  gation by the commissioner shall not be a  prerequisite  to  nor  a  bar
    12  against a person bringing a civil action under this section. All employ-
    13  ees  shall  have  the  right  to  recover  full wages, benefits and wage
    14  supplements and liquidated damages accrued during the six years previous
    15  to the commencing of such action, whether such action is  instituted  by
    16  the  employee or by the commissioner. There is no exception to liability
    17  under this section for the unauthorized failure to pay  wages,  benefits
    18  or wage supplements.
    19    § 5. This act shall take effect immediately.