Gov. David A. Paterson signed into law some of the nation’s strongest protections against wage theft on Monday, after months of lobbying by immigrants’ advocates and labor unions that said New York lagged behind other states on the issue.
The law, which takes effect in April, will quadruple the penalties for employers who steal workers’ pay, and will protect whistle-blowers from retaliation.
Employers who pay below the minimum wage, fail to pay overtime or unfairly garnishee wages are especially rampant in restaurant, retail and construction businesses where illegal immigrants make up much of the work force, according to a report this year by the National Employment Law Project. In New York City, the report said, lost wages add up to more than $18.4 million a week.
“These issues go unreported and unaddressed because…