WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER From the Westchester County Department of Communications. November 29, 2018:
Thursday afternoon, County Executive George Latimer signed the Home Improvement Licensing Law Amendments, also known as the “Anti-Wage Theft Bill.”
This new law requires the County to consider judgements against contractors for non-payment or under-payment of employees when examining new license applications and license renewals. Contractor applicants also will be required to disclose any business-related judgements against them – particularly those involving non-payment or underpayment.
Latimer said: “This is a win-win for Westchester County taxpayers. It both results in increased revenues for County while it is welcomed by both consumers and professional contractors because it helps ensure consumers are doing business with reputable companies and helps those in the contracting business already because it weeds out the ‘fly by night’ bad actors who do business in Westchester and undercut legitimate businesses who play by the rules.”
The bill, authored by Legislators Nancy Barr and Chris Johnson, passed the Board of Legislators unanimously.
Barr said: “As a freshman legislator, it is so exciting to see how local government and communities can work together to really do things that improve people’s lives. It really does happen and this law is a perfect example. The issue of wage-theft has been a problem for a long time and the community has stepped in to help those who have fallen victim – and now all of that hard work has led to passage of a law at the County level that will move things in the right direction.”
Johnson said: “Legislator Barr and I came together to introduce, and now pass, this law because we knew there were people who weren’t getting their fair share, people were going to work every morning and coming home short changed. We also spoke to contractors and business people who employ those individuals and they said ‘we want a fair playing field because when we charge consumers we have to include the price of labor and we are getting undercut.’ So this legislation made sense from all perspectives.”
Director of Consumer Protection, the department charged with enforcing this new law, Jim Maisano said: “We are the Consumer Protection Department, our job is to protect all consumers – and this law is going to help us do a better job. A bad actor who doesn’t pay their employees is not someone who you want showing up at someone’s house to do any project because they are going to rip off the consumer. I can assure you that we are going to aggressively pursue wage theft violations in Westchester County.”
Don Bosco Community Center Executive Director Dr. Ann Heekin said: “Each time a stolen wage is lost, it is a family that will go without adequate food, without paying their rent or a child without a winter coat that they need. This gets very real and very human. Each case they we work on at Don Bosco has a name, not just a number, and that is why we do the work we do. But the truth is, our best work comes when we work with people like our County Executive and County Legislators, who have the power to put into law what we are trying to advocate for. All Westchester residents should be proud that this has passed.”
The law takes effect on January 1, 2019.