By Nicholas P. Melito
Employers take note, at the start of this year, it is important to become compliant with many statutes and regulations but particularly the following regulations:
- The federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”) prohibits employers from employing individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States of America. The IRCA created a verification system under which an employer must execute a Form I-9 attesting under oath that it has verified that each person hired is authorized to work in the United States by personally examining certain required documents(s) demonstrating such person’s identity and authorization to work in the United States. Under this verification system, the individual hired must also execute the Form I-9, attesting under oath that he or she is a citizen or national of the United States, or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence of an alien who is authorized to work in the United States for a specific period of time. Failure to timely and accurately complete the Form I-9 could subject an employer to significant civil penalties, and in serious cases, criminal liability.
- The Wage Theft Prevention Act (“WTPA”), effective April 9, 2011, placed many additional obligations on employers, and increased penalties and liquidated damages awards. Specifically, the WTPA requires employers to provide employees a notice at the time of hiring, in writing in English and in the primary language identified by such employee, containing, among other items, the employee’s rate of pay, the basis thereof, the amount of any allowances, and the employer’s doing business as information. Failure to provide this notice to employees could expose the employer to penalties in the amount of Fifty Dollars ($50) per workday, or a maximum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) per employee. In addition to this notice, the WTPA requires employers provide accurate wage statements with payment of wages that inform the employee, among other items, the rate of pay, the amount of hours worked for the pay period, and the amount of taxes and/or withholdings. Failure to provide accurate wage statements with the employee’s pay could expose an employer to penalties in the amount of Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250) per workday, or a maximum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) per employee.
- New York City employers also must provide its employees with paid safe or sick leave under the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Leave Act (“Paid Sick Leave Act”). Under the Paid Sick Leave Act, New York City employers who employ five (5) or more employees must give all employees who worked eighty (80) hours or more in the previous calendar year in New York City paid sick time off. Moreover, in addition to offering its employees with paid sick leave, employers must provide employees with a “Notice of Employee Rights” under the Paid Sick Leave Act when employees begin their employment. Failure to properly distribute the “Notice of Employee Rights” and a sick leave policy could expose an employer to significant liability. Said liability could be most likely in excess of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) per violation and per employee who failed to receive said notice, a copy of the sick leave policy, and paid sick leave.
- Finally, New York State and New York City legislatures recently passed a number of new legislative provisions designed to expand protections for victims of sexual harassment and improve anti-harassment policies and training practices among employers. Some of the new requirements include, but are not limited to, distributing an information sheet pertaining to sexual harassment to all of its employees, adopting/revising its anti-sexual harassment policies, and conducting required training to all employees.
We urge you to take care to ensure that you are not only aware of your obligations but, more importantly, you are in compliance with your obligations.
This blog posting is for informational and educational purposes only. It is general in nature and not person or circumstance specific. This blog posting is not intended nor should it be construed as rendering independent investment, legal or tax advice. It may but does not necessarily constitute attorney advertising.