D.C. employers have until May 27, 2015, to comply with the notice provisions of the Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014 ( "WTPAA"), which became effective on February 26, 2015 ("Effective Date"). The WTPAA amended several of D.C.'s wage and hour laws, including the Minimum Wage Act Revision Act ("Minimum Wage Act"), the Living Wage Act, the Wage Payment and Wage Collection Law, and the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act.
The notice provisions of the WTPAA, which amend the Minimum Wage Act, require employers to provide employees hired on or after the WTPAA's Effective Date with a notice containing information about their compensation. By May 27, 2015, employers must also provide this notice to employees hired prior to the WTPAA's Effective Date. Both the employee and employer must sign and date the notice, and the employer must keep copies of these notices as proof of compliance with the WTPAA.
Significantly, all D.C. employers (with the exception of the D.C. government and federal government) are required to comply with these notice provisions—regardless of the employer's size. Further, employers are required to provide notices to all employees, regardless of their exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. (However, under most circumstances, notices are not required for volunteers, appointed or elected officers in religious organizations, and babysitters.)
The notice must contain the following information:
(1) Information about the employer, including:
- The employer's name (including any "Doing Business" names used)
- The physical address of the employer's main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address (if different)
- The employer's telephone number;
(2) The employee's rate of pay and the basis of that rate, including:
- The employee's rate of pay by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, or commission (depending on what is applicable)
- Any allowances claimed as part of the minimum wage, including tip, meal, or lodging allowances
- The employee's overtime rate of pay or any exemptions from overtime pay
- The living wage or any exemptions from the living wage
- The prevailing wage (if applicable, e.g., for employers covered by the Service Contract Act or the Davis-Bacon Act);
(3) The employee's regular payday; and
(4) Any other information as the Mayor considers material and necessary.
An updated notice must be provided to employees whenever the information listed above changes.
The D.C. Department of Employment Services has provided employers with a sample notice template in both English and Spanish. Please note that an employer is only required to provide an employee with the Spanish notice if the employer knows that Spanish is the employee's primary language or the employee requests a notice in Spanish.
The WTPAA instituted several other amendments to the Minimum Wage Act, including:
- A new penalty for failure to provide employees with the notice described above ($500 per violation).
- A provision that prohibits employers from discharging, threatening, penalizing, or in any other manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee who complains about a violation of the Minimum Wage Act.
- New rules that impose joint and several liability on: (1) general contractors and subcontractors if a subcontractor fails to pay employees in accordance with the Minimum Wage Act; and (2) an employer and a temporary staffing firm for violations of the Minimum Wage Act. (There is an exception to joint and several liability if the contract between a general contractor and a subcontractor, or the contract between an employer and a temporary staffing firm, states otherwise and that contract was in place on the Effective Date of the WTPAA.) Subcontractors must indemnify general contractors for any money owed as a result of the subcontractor's violation (unless the subcontractor's violation was due to lack of prompt payment by the general contractor). Similarly, temporary staffing firms must indemnify employers for any money owed as a result of a violation by the temporary staffing firm.
- Special notice provisions for temporary staffing firms.
As mentioned above, the WTPAA also amended the Living Wage Act, the Wage Payment and Wage Collection Law, and the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act. In fact, several of the changes made by the WTPAA to the Minimum Wage Act (e.g., the joint and several liability provision and the anti-discrimination/retaliation provision) were also made to one or more of D.C.'s other wage and hour laws.
Employers should take the next week to ensure that they have provided the above-mentioned notices to all of their employees, and that they have a signed copy on file for each employee. Employers should also familiarize themselves with the other changes made to D.C.'s wage and hour laws.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.