New York Labor Law Amended to Redefine Permissible Wage Deductions

Effective November 6, 2012, employees may voluntarily authorize a greater range of wage deductions than previously allowed under the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) subject to numerous restrictions which are still to be defined through the issuance of regulations by the NY Department of Labor.  On September 7, 2012, Governor Cuomo signed a bill, passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate in June 2012, amending Section 193 of the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) allowing for an employer only with an employee’s voluntary authorization to make deductions from employee wages in instances other than previously statutorily prescribed ones such as insurance premiums, US bonds, pension, health and welfare benefits, union dues, and similar payments for the employee’s benefit. 


As a result of the amendment, permissible wage deductions now include deductions to recover pay advances; accidental overpayment of wages; deductions for purchases made at charity-sponsored events; discounted parking passes and mass transit vouchers; gym membership dues; cafeteria, vending machine and pharmacy purchases made at the employer’s place of business; tuition, room and board and fees for educational institutions; day care expenses; and payments for housing provided at no more than market rates by nonprofit hospitals – a total of 14 categories inclusive of a “catchall.”  The employee’s voluntary authorization must fully comply with the law, including but not limited to prior written notice of all terms and conditions of payment and the details of the manner in which the deductions will be made; revocation of the employee’s authorization at will by the employee at any time; and the employer’s maintenance of the employee’s written authorization for the full period of employment and 6 years post-employment. 


If employees are confronted with a request by an employer for authorization to make wage deductions, the employee should make sure through his or her own efforts or by seeking the assistance of a union representative or other advocate, that the employer has fully complied with the amended law and implementing regulations.

Posted on July 8, 2012 .