As of July 1, 2019, Minnesota’s new Wage Theft Law will go into effect. If you read anything about this new law, it is easy to assume it places many, many new obligations on employers. But, like many things, take a deep breath. The new law isn’t nearly as onerous as you might think.
First, the new law requires employers to follow old laws. Employers have to pay employees. Employers have to pay at least minimum wages. Employers have to pay overtime. Employers have to have paystubs with a bunch of information on it that specific how the employee earned pay (pay period dates, what is regular pay, what is overtime, what deductions are for, employer name, address, and telephone number, etc.). None of this is new. What is new is the amount of penalties that accompany failure to follow these laws. Those have increased and failure to follow the law could include very real criminal penalties.
Second, if you have offer letters, much of the new “notice” requirements are already in your offer letters. Start date, how much the employee earns, basis of pay (salary or hourly), when employees will get paid (weekly, biweekly, twice monthly, etc.), exempt vs. nonexempt status, any commission structure (if applicable), what shift the employee is assigned (if applicable), PTO or vacation and sick time accrual, deductions to pay, employer address, and telephone number – these should already be in your offer letter. The only “new” pieces are when the first payday will be, any allowances (like meals and lodging), and an offer to put the offer letter in a different language if needed.
Third, when employers roll out new policies, you need employees to acknowledge them. Prior to the new law, employers could roll out new policies without employee acknowledgements. Now you need them. To avoid piecemeal acknowledgements, it may be best to review your handbook annually and when updates are necessary, require employees to acknowledge the changes all at the same time once per year. More frequent changes are going to require more frequent acknowledgements. This could be a bit of a pain to both do and track.
Fourth, when you change wages, employees need to acknowledge those changes too. For example, if Jimmy is going to get a raise, you give him a writing (email, letter, performance review) that his wages are increasing and have him acknowledge the increase. Again, most employers already do this, but now it is mandated by law.
That’s it! The Wage Theft Law looks like it could be hard to comply with. But, in reality, it is not as big of a deal as it has been made out to be. Take a deep breath, you got this.