The Wage Theft Protection Act, California Labor Code Section 2810.5, was adopted in 2011 to address concerns of intentional theft of wages by employers, especially employers in certain industries, such as textile manufacturing, personal services, retail, and restaurants, with undocumented and immigrant communities deemed at the greatest risk of wage theft. The Act requires employers to provide a Wage Theft Notice, enabling employees to confirm their wages and receive information necessary to make a complaint of minimum wage or other Labor Code violations.
The Act requires that employers provide nonexempt employees with a notice containing information regarding their wage rates, regular payday, name and address of the employer, paid sick leave, and other employment-related information at the time of hire. This must be provided in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information to the employee. Employers must provide written notification of any changes to the information within seven days of the change, unless the change is reflected on a wage statement, such as an increase in a rate of pay.
As noted during our Annual Legal Update and our prior discussions of California’s expansion of paid sick leave and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s Frequently Asked Questions, paid sick leave requirements were expanded to require provision of five days or 40 hours of time off to full-time employees, an increase from the prior three days or 24 hours. The Labor Commissioner has updated the Wage Theft Notice to reflect this change in the law.
Wage Theft Notice
Effective January 1, 2024, employers must also provide an updated Wage Theft Notice to disclose any federal or state emergency or disaster declaration applicable to the county or counties where the employee is employed, issued within 30 days prior to the employee’s first day of employment, that may affect their health or safety at work. Additional requirements are imposed on agricultural employers employing H-2A visa employees, including rights and protections afforded agricultural workers under California law.
There are exceptions to notice requirements. First, existing employees previously provided a Wage Theft Notice need not be provided a new notice unless there is a substantive change in the information. Second, state and local government entities are exempt from notice requirements. Third, employers are not required to provide employees exempt from overtime by statute or Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders notice. Finally, employers need not provide notice to employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if certain conditions are met.
Employers must confirm they have adopted the new Wage Theft Notice for employees hired after January 1, 2024 and provide the notice and information in the appropriate language. Employers are encouraged to consult their employment law counsel regarding these changes in the law and to confirm whether employees are exempt from notice requirements.