As the New York legislative session draws to a close, a flurry of bills have been presented for consideration in both the Senate and Assembly, both inside and outside the employment law arena. Included among those is a bill, supported by this memorandum from the Governor’s office, which would amend New York Labor Law § 193 to expand the scope of permissible deductions from wages under state law. Currently, the NYSDOL takes the position that wage deductions, even with consent of the employee, are limited to the items specifically enumerated in the statute (insurance premiums, pension or health and welfare benefits, contributions to charitable organizations, payments for United States bonds, payments for dues or assessments to a labor organization) and similar deductions which the Department narrowly construes as being for the benefit of the employee. Among deductions that are prohibited in the Department’s view are recovery of wage overpayments, repayment of advances and repayment of loans. The proposed bill seeks to expressly expand the scope of permissible deductions to include repayment of wage overpayments, advances and loans and other similar types of payments, as well as “additional categories” of services many employers provide to employees for their benefit, such as gym memberships, cafeteria plans, daycare plans and other benefits.
We will continue to advise in this space regarding legislative proposals at the state and federal level.