In standard labor law, the employer can allow deduct from a worker’s wage if it’s authorized by the employee and has some sort of benefit for him or her. In New York, the same applies but there is an exception: deductions can be “made in accordance with the provisions of any law or any regulation issued by any governmental agency.” In other words, Cuomo’s gavel makes the final decision.
Yesterday, the Governor signed
a law that rewrites the rules for wage deductions. In it, power shifts more towards the top, giving the employer leeway to charge his or her employee for more leisurely activities, like eating meals in the office cafeteria, mass transit costs, gym memberships, parking and office fundraisers.
Basically, if an activity causes you to smile, the employer can deduct it from your wage (with your consent, of course). The new law also widens
the scope of what an employee can do to get an advance on a paycheck.
So it’s not all that bad for the worker.
By handing the ability of cutting corners to the employer, the bill is a testament to Albany’s obsession with saving money in these rough times: another part enables employers to hunt down overpayments in paychecks and loans to employees. With it in place, the new regulatory framework cannot work without the employees’ consent but it also provides more opportunities for a worker to screw up. Or an employer to get more money back.
The law, which originally started as a Department of Labor initiative, goes into effect in two months and will expire after three years. That should be more than enough time for Albany to get a few more paychecks in the mail.
(For the full text of the bill, click here).