New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently slammed the Department of Labor pilot program allowing employers to report wage violations “nothing more than a Get Out of Jail Free card for predatory employers.”
He also stressed that his office will continue to prosecute labor violations to the fullest extent of the law even if employers participate in the program because the DOL is prohibited from supervising payments or providing releases for state law violations.
In March DOL unveiled a six-month pilot project it named the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program intended to allow employers to self-audit and self-report accidental violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (AA 3-31-18, P. 3).
The goal is to expedite resolution of these kinds of minimum wage and overtime violations while sparing employers from costly litigation. Employers can self-audit their compensation practices and if the audit reveals violations, then full restitution must be made to the affected employees.
The New York AG’s comments may give pause to employers about joining PAID in case they find themselves on the radar of aggressive state and local government enforcement agencies.
Further complicating matters, DOL has released more details about PAID program eligibility. Excluded are recent complaints made by employees or state wage enforcement agencies, and pay practices that were in litigation within the last five years, or are currently under investigation by DOL.
Also excluded are employers covered by any federal prevailing wage laws, such as the Davis Bacon Act, the Service Contract Act, prevailing wages established by executive orders, or who operate under various immigration visa programs.