The New York State Legislature just passed the Wage Theft Protection Act and it became law when Governor Patterson signed the bill. This new law will provide New Yorkers with greater protection from overtime pay and minimum wage violations. The New York wage theft law will increase penalties, increase protection for workers who speak out about wage theft and add tools the New York Department of Labor and courts can use to investigate cases. Under the Wage Theft Protection Act, an employer can be forced to pay wronged workers twice the amount that was due as well as other penalties and legal fees.
According to a recent study by the National Employment Law Center unscrupulous employers in New York steal more than $18.4 million a week, almost $1 billion each year, from their workers by cheating them out of minimum wages and overtime pay. Moreover, 75% of those who work overtime are not paid the required overtime pay premium equal to time and a half and 69% of workers don’t get meal breaks.
Illinois, Washington State, Massachusetts and New Mexico have also passed similar laws to protect workers from wage theft.