New York State Labor Law §193 has been amended to  greatly expand the deductions an employer can make from an employee’s wages.  This amendment became effective on November 6, 2012.

Until these amendments went into effect, New York employers were prohibited from deducting monies from an employee’s wages, with two narrow exceptions:

  • Deductions authorized or required by law, such as taxes and wage garnishment for child support; and
  • Deductions authorized by the employee that are “for the benefit of the employee”.  The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) has construed this to only include deductions for  insurance premiums, pension contributions, health or welfare benefits, contributions to charitable organizations, payments for U.S. Bonds, and payments for dues or assessments to unions (and similar payments).

The amendment to Labor Law 193 expands the deductions considered “for the benefit of the employee”, and permits employers to make periodic deductions from employee’s wages to pay for goods and services provided by the employer for the convenience of the employee.  These expanded deductions now include the following:

  • costs associated with discounted parking or mass transit tickets, passes, vouchers or fare cards;
  • fitness/ health club/gym membership dues;
  • cafeteria, vending machines and pharmacy purchases made at the employer’s place of business, and gift shops run by hospitals, colleges and universities;
  • tuition, room and board and fees for nursery, primary, secondary and post-secondary education costs; and
  • daycare and before- and after-school care expenses.

With some exceptions, an employee’s consent to a wage deduction may be revoked in writing at any time, and upon notice to the employer, the wage deduction must cease as soon as practicable.