Attention: New York Employers. Do You Employ Manual Laborers?

New York employers, if you employ manual workers – defined by Section 190(4) of the New York State Labor Law as a “mechanic, workingman or laborer”, or more specifically, workers that spend at least 25% of their working time engaged in physical labor – you must pay them on a weekly basis.  New York Labor Law Section 191(1)(a).

If not, New York employers face claims for recovery of liquidated damages in the amount of the untimely paid wages, interest and reasonable attorneys’ fees under New York Labor Law Section 198(1-a).  As reported recently in Irma Vega v. C M and Associates Construction Management, LLC, 2019 NY Slip. Op 06459 (1st Dept. 2019), New York Labor Law Section 198(1-a) applies to “wage claims based upon violations of one or more of the substantive provisions of Labor Law Art. 6.”  This includes claims for untimely payment of wages pursuant to New York Labor Law Section 191(1-a).

The Vega Court rejected the employer’s attempt to read into Section 198(1-a) an ability to cure a violation and evade the statute by paying the wages that are due before the commencement of an action.  Thus, the Court held expressly that the employer’s subsequent payment to the employee did not eviscerate the employee’s statutory remedies.

New York employers are well-served to carefully review their pay practices with counsel to ensure they are in line with New York Labor Law provisions concerning the amount, and timely payment, of wages.

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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