More than 60 employers visited Rochester Business Alliance headquarters earlier this month for a candid conversation with New York State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle. While discussion was open to any topic related to the current legislative session in Albany and concerns of local business, most of the talk focused on New York’s Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2010.

Rochester Business Alliance has repeatedly expressed support for legislation that would amend the Wage Theft Prevention Act to repeal New York State’s annual notification provision for employers. Under the current Wage Theft Prevention Act, private sector employers are required to provide a written pay notice to all employees in New York on an annual basis. In addition, a written acknowledgement of the receipt of this notice must be obtained from employees and maintained for six years.

The annual notification requirement imposes substantial administrative costs on every private sector employer in New York with little, if any, additional benefit. Although wage compliance is only an issue for a very small percentage of employers, this law penalizes all employers throughout the state and does little to improve overall compliance by those that are in violation. In addition, the information required on the annual pay notice is the same information that is already included on paycheck stubs. Repealing the annual notice requirement of the Wage Theft Prevention Act will not change the law’s most significant reforms intended to assure payment of all wages earned by employees.

At the RBA conversation with Assembly Majority Leader Morelle, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Human Resources Regional Manager Toni Zeiser said, “New York State is putting an undue burden on employers. The Wage Theft Prevention Act costs a lot of extra clerical and administrative time. We already have mechanisms in place in New York that address any issues that employees may have with their pay. Employers are moving their businesses out of New York because of extra burdens like this.”

Center for Disability Rights Assistant Director of Human Resources Ralph LeMoyne added, “To have to go through this annual notification is very burdensome, especially for an agency like ours. We’re a non-profit and most of our employees are off-site and work in our consumers’ homes. We probably have less than 50 percent of the notifications returned to us because they pay no attention to it. We’d like to see that annual requirement go away.”

YMCA of Greater Rochester Vice President of Human Resources Fernan R. Cepero detailed the expense of the Wage Theft Prevention Act’s annual notification requirement. Cepero said, “It costs us $27,000 a year to manage the whole process between labor time, trying to track down employees to sign the form, and setting up file storage and retrieval. In the end, it’s a waste of time, money, and effort.”

Last year, the New York State Senate voted to repeal the annual notification requirement, but the Assembly failed to take action. The repeal bill has been reintroduced this legislative session.

At the RBA conversation, Assembly Majority Leader Morelle said, “I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to go back in the last few weeks of session and make some adjustments that will not only meet the original goals of the legislation that were intended, but also free people up from the administrative nightmare associated with trying to comply with a law that in most cases probably isn’t necessary, at least the notification provision of it. I don’t think we need to repeal it, but I certainly think some amendments to the law are in order.”

Onerous regulations already make it difficult to do business in New York. The unnecessary Wage Theft Prevention Act annual notification mandate only serves to further harm the job creators of our state.

There is a way for employers to take action. Let the New York State legislature know that the Wage Theft Prevention Act annual notification mandate is bad for business by sending them a note through the Rochester Business Alliance Voice of the Voter portal or contacting RBA Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Chris Wiest at Chris.Wiest@RBAlliance.com or (585) 256-4626.