Breaking from prior legal precedent, an appellate court in New York ruled that if a contractor pays employees performing manual work on a biweekly basis (or less frequently), the affected employees may bring a private lawsuit or class action case seeking liquidated damages going back for the entire six-year statute of limitations period, even if the employees were paid in full. New York’s wage payment law requires that employees performing “manual work” be paid weekly and no later than seven calendar days after the end of the week in which the wages are earned. The term “manual work” includes construction work to the extent that it is defined by the law to include work performed by a “mechanic, workingman, or laborer.”
The bottom line is that contractors performing work in New York should run their payroll weekly for construction workers and others performing manual work. In addition, contractors need to be aware of other laws requiring that wages be paid weekly, including most prevailing wage laws and laws in other states such as California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.