Wage Theft Legislation Continues Trend

Those who have been following Wage Theft legislation have no doubt noticed a major uptick in legislation over the past few years.  New York and California have instituted sweeping notification laws and the city of Chicago has implemented substantial penalties for offenders of their recent ordinance.  In addition Hawaii passed a law last year aimed at strengthening employer paystub and record-keeping requirements, so that employers would be held more accountable in this area.

This year, we have already seen the Missouri legislature introduce a new bill, entitled the “Missouri Wage Payment and Collection Act”, which was rolled out in the Missouri House January 8, 2014.  This bill closely following the blueprint provided by numerous states previously in their standing wage laws.  Missouri House Bill 1112 redefines wage payment timing and permissible deductions as well as establishes a clearer path for investigations into and penalties for discrepancies.  In addition, the bill also seeks to impose a written notification for all new hires which would clearly outline the rate, time and place of wage payment.  The bill also includes an acknowledgement provision for such a notice, stating that it must be signed by both employer and employee.

If passed, this would bring the total of state-imposed new employee notifications to twenty-seven.  While many of these notification laws may have been under-enforced in the past, it is fair to assume that with the added focus on this area of the law, many states will renew their focus on these notifications.  Employers should review the new hire laws in each state they have a presence to ensure compliance with both new and standing laws.