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Legislature must repeal pointless mandate on wage notices

By SANDRA PARKER
On Business
Rochester Business Journal
December 20, 2013

Several weeks ago, the state Assembly's Labor Committee held a hearing to gather input from workers across the state on the Wage Theft Prevention Act. In response to the hearing notice, the Rochester Business Alliance sent a letter to the committee chairman, Carl Heastie, to express employer concerns about the Wage Theft Prevention Act, specifically its annual notification provision. What follows is the text of that letter.
 
Dear Assemblyman Heastie and members of the Assembly Labor Committee:
 
On behalf of the Rochester Business Alliance, the regional chamber of commerce representing nearly 2,000 employers in the Finger Lakes region, I am writing today regarding the annual pay notice provision included in the Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2010. Under the Wage Theft Prevention Act, private-sector employers are required to provide a written pay notice to all employees in New York State on an annual basis. In addition, a written acknowledgment of the receipt of this notice must be obtained from employees and maintained for six years. Rochester Business Alliance supports the repeal of this unnecessary and burdensome mandate.
 
The new 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 small percentage of employers, the notification provision penalizes all employers throughout the state and will do 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 must be included on all paycheck stubs. Throughout the year, employees have the opportunity to review their pay information each and every payday. 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.
 
Members of the Rochester Business Alliance have been vocal in their opposition to this new mandate. Since passage of the law, employers continue to contact us and express their frustration with the added administrative burdens and costs associated with this requirement. At a member meeting with Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle earlier this year, over 50 employers participated, mostly to register their frustration with the annual notification provision. One not-for-profit executive in attendance calculated the cost of complying with the annual notification and estimated that his organization spent over $25,000 in staff time. These dollars could be much better spent on programs to benefit the community.
 
In a recent survey of our members on state legislative concerns, we received over 40 comments specifically about this issue. A sampling of these comments is below:
 

  • "Burdensome process/cost when all info is included on pay stubs."
  • "One of many new and inexplicable mandates that takes time and money from core business needs."
  • "The annual notice is an unnecessary waste of time and efforts, and is another example of penalizing everyone to eradicate a much smaller group of problems."
  • "This is very anti-employer as though we are the bad guys."
  • "We are drowning in paperwork. The Wage Theft Prevention Act may be the straw that broke the camel's back."


Onerous regulations already make it difficult to do business in New York. This unnecessary mandate only serves to further harm the job creators of our state. For the reasons stated above, Rochester Business Alliance supports the repeal of the annual notification requirement and urges you and members of the Assembly Labor Committee to do the same.
 
Sincerely, Sandra A. Parker, president and CEO, Rochester Business Alliance.
 
As I write this column, the RBA has not yet received a response from Assemblyman Heastie or the Labor Committee. Last year, the state Senate voted to repeal the Wage Theft Prevention Act annual notification requirement, but the Assembly failed to act. The RBA hopes to see a repeal bill reintroduced in the coming legislative session.
 
There are ways for employers to take action as well. Learn more by contacting Chris Wiest, RBA vice president of public policy and advocacy, at Chris.Wiest@RBAlliance.com or (585) 256-4626.
 
The Rochester Business Alliance and its members plan to lobby aggressively to push for repeal of this mandate, which does nothing but make it tougher to do business in New York State.
 
Sandra Parker is president and CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. Contact her at SandyP@RBAlliance.com.

12/20/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.



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