Much like New York’s Wage Theft Prevention Act, California’s Wage Theft Prevention Act (which went into effect January 1, 2012,) places new notice requirements on California employers, and enhances enforcement and penalties for violations of California wage laws.
Private-sector employees hired on or after January 1, 2012 must receive the required notice at the time of hire. However, the following private-sector employees are exempt from the notice requirement: (a) any employee exempt from the payment of overtime wages by statute or the wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission; and (b) employees governed by certain collective bargaining agreements.
California Labor Law §2810.5(a) requires covered employees to be provided with the following information:
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) takes the position that the following information is also required:
The DLSE has issued a template form which includes all of the above information, available at:www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/LC_2810.5_Notice.pdf. Employers are not required to use this template, but must include in their notices all the information provided by the template.
Enhanced Enforcement and Penalties for Wage Violations
The Act also makes important changes to the enforcement and penalty provisions of California wage laws. For example, the Act amends Labor Code § 1174 to extend the period of time in which employers must retain payroll records from two (2) years to three (3) years. The Act also declares that employers who fail to pay their employees the minimum wage must now pay restitution to their employees in the amount of unpaid wages (in addition to paying civil penalties). Furthermore, the Act now permits employees to recover attorney’s fees and costs incurred to enforce a court judgment for unpaid wages.