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How To Comply With California Wage Theft Law

During September of 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger killed two bills aimed at penalizing employers who commit wage theft in California.  However, he failed to win reelection, and after Governor Jerry Brown took over the post the following January, Brown went on to sign Assembly Bill 469, known as the Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011.

California’s Wage Theft Protection Act (WTPA) has been in effect since January 2012.  It added Section 2810.5 to the labor code which requires employers to provide new employees with specific information in writing at the time they are hired, including the legal name and address of the company who is hiring the new employee, the name and address of the company for whom the employee will perform work, the employee’s rate of pay, and the basis of wage payment (whether paying by “hour, shift, day, week, piece, commission, or otherwise”), including any applicable rates for overtime.  The information must be delivered to the employee in the same “language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information to the employee”.

California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has published a template to help employers comply with this requirement.  Employers are not required to use this template, but all of the information must be provided to new hires in writing.  The form has spaces for all of the necessary information and signature lines for both the employer and employee.  The employee’s signature of receipt of the information is not required by the law, but the employer should make a note on his own copy if any employee refuses to sign.  Templates are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog from one of the DLSE district offices.

It will be interesting to see whether other states adopt this method of ensuring that employees are informed of the intent of their employers, and thereby their rights as employees.

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