Starting today, Minnesota has one of the toughest wage theft laws in the country. The civil portions of Minnesota's new Wage Theft Law, effective July 1, 2019, require employers to take the following additional actions:
- Provide Individualized Notice to New Employees.
The new law requires employers to provide its employees with written notice that includes, among other things, whether the employee is non-exempt and on what basis; the number of days in a pay period and the date of the employee's first payday; the rate of pay and the basis thereof; PTO, sick and vacation time provisions; a list of deductions that may be made from the employee's pay; and any allowances that may be claimed for permitted meals and lodging. The notice must contain the employer's legal name and operating name, and both the physical and mailing address of the employer's principal place of business and the employer's phone number.
The notice must be provided in English and employers must include a statement (in several languages) that the notice can be provided to them in another language. If an employee asks for the notice in another language, the employer must comply.
Employers must keep a copy of the notice signed by each employee. Employers must advise in writing any changes to the information contained in the notice prior to the date the change takes effect.
- Provide More Information on Earnings Statements
Under the new law, employers must now include additional information on each earnings statement. The new information required includes an employee's rate of pay and basis thereof, any allowances claimed for permitted meals and lodging, and the physical and mailing address of the employer's principal place of business and the employer's telephone contact.
- Additional Recordkeeping
Under the existing law, employers must keep certain records for three years. Minnesota's new Wage Theft Law requires the following additional records to be kept by the employer:
- Each employee's hours worked each day and each work week, including, for all employees paid at piece rate, the number of pieces completed at each piece rate;
- A list of personnel policies with brief descriptions of each policy that were provided to each employee, including the date the policies were given to the employee; and
- A copy of the new notice that is required to be provided to and signed by each employee at the start of employment, and a copy of any written changes to the notice that were provided to each employee.
Employers must keep these records where the employees are working on in a manner that allows the employer to comply with the commissioner's demand within 72 hours. If the records are not sufficient to determine the exact amount of back wages due, the commissioner may make a determination of wages due based on available evidence.
- Payment of Wages and Commissions
Employers must pay all wages, including salary, earnings, and gratuities, at least once every 31 days and all commissions earned by an employee at least once every three months on a regular payday.
The New Wage Theft law also provides the Attorney General's Office the authority to enforce the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act and Prevailing Wage Act and Payment of Wages. Effective August 1, 2019, if an employer commits "wage theft", it can be subject to criminal sanctions as extreme as 20 years in prison and fines up to $100,000.
Implementing procedures to comply with Minnesota's new Wage Theft Law can seem daunting. Should you need assistance, Cozen O'Connor's Labor and Employment Department has a team ready to help make the transition as seamless as possible.
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.