D.C.’s Wage Theft Amendment Takes Effect February 26, Imposes New Notice and Hours Recording Obligations on Employers

money_jarIn September 2014, the Council of the District of Columbia enacted the Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014 (the “Amendment’). The Amendment takes effect on Thursday and amends four D.C. employment law statutes, including its minimum wage, wage payment, and paid sick leave statutes.

This post will focus on key changes to the Minimum Wage Act Revision Act of 1992 (“MWARA”), which requires employers to pay minimum wage and overtime to nonexempt employees.

The Amendment imposes new written wage notice requirements on employers. Specifically:

  • Employers must furnish to each employee at the time of hire a written notice—both in English and the employee’s primary language—disclosing the employer’s name, physical address, telephone number, and any “doing business as” names; the employee’s rate of pay; any allowances claimed as part of the minimum wage (e.g., tip and meal allowances); the applicable overtime rate or exemptions from overtime; and the employee’s regular payday.
  • By May 27, 2015, employers must furnish the above-referenced wage notice to all existing employees.
  • Employers must provide updated notices to existing employees when any of the above information changes.
  • Employers must retain copies of the written notice that are signed and dated by the employer and by the employee acknowledging receipt.
Failure to comply with the notice provision could result in a $500 penalty for each violation. Mayor Muriel Bowser has been directed to provide sample wage notices by April 27, 2015, but has yet to do so.

In addition to the wage notice requirement, the Act also imposes new requirements on employers with respect to tracking hours worked. Previously, the Act required only that employers maintain records tracking “hours worked” by each non-exempt employee. The Amendment, however, requires that employers track “precise time worked.”

While there is some uncertainty surrounding exactly what this requires, it appears that employers now will be required to record the exact time that an employee works each day, rather than simply an aggregate hours total. Moreover, it is unclear whether the hours reporting requirement applies to both non-exempt and exempt employees alike. We can only hope the Mayor will issue regulations clarifying these requirements, as failure to comply with the recordkeeping requirements could result in a $500 penalty for each employee, as well as a tolling of the 3-year statute of limitations for wage claims.