by Jeffrey M. Landes, William J. Milani, Susan Gross Sholinsky, Dean L. Silverberg, Anna A. Cohen, and Jennifer A. Goldman

New York State has finally codified its position on permissible deductions from employees’ wages. On November 6, 2012, an amendment to New York’s Labor Law (“Labor Law”) will take effect. The amendment expands the list of employee wage deductions that New York employers may lawfully make, so long as the employee authorizes such deductions.

On September 7, 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the legislation that he introduced, which amends Labor Law Section 193 (“Section 193”), relating to permissible deductions from employees’ wages. Currently, the Labor Law expressly prohibits deductions from wages, with limited exceptions. Over the past few years, the New York State Department of Labor has issued several opinion letters severely limiting the types of permissible deductions—essentially forbidding any deductions not specifically set forth in pre-amendment Section 193.

The amended Section 193, on the other hand, includes several deductions that are now permitted and provides employers with the ability to recoup inadvertent mathematical or clerical wage overpayments. The amendment also permits employers to create repayment schedules, via wage deduction, for wage advances to employees. One caveat, however, is that the amendment to Section 193 expires and will be deemed repealed three years after its effective date.

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