Legislative Memo

Frank Kerbein
Director, Center for Human Resources
T 518.465.7511 x210


A.5448 (Morelle) / S.2837 (Young)



Authorized deductions from wages


A.5448 (Morelle) / S.2837 (Young)


May 16, 2011


This bill would broaden the ability of employers to make deductions from their employee’s pay when it is for the benefit or convenience of the employee. The Business Council supports enactment of this proposal.

As a result of the Labor Ready court case several years ago, pay deductions by employers that were a convenience to employees and had been permitted prior to the court case are now no longer permitted. Even easily correctable accidental paycheck overpayments are now prohibited.

We are many decades past the days of company stores and company-owned housing when employers were the only supplier of such services and had a free hand at withholding or deducting payments for these services.

With electronic payroll systems now available for use by employers, many additional programs and services can be made available to employees who authorize them. Programs such as pay advances, low or no interest loans, meals in employer dining facilities, discounted employee on-site parking, uniform, tool, safety equipment and eyeglass upgrades and prescription drug co-payments at employer operated pharmacies, popular with and requested by employees, are not permitted. In the not-for-profit sector, employees have raised money for internal charitable foundations and other special needs programs through vendor sales of specialty items utilizing authorized employee paycheck deductions. But employers are now eliminating, discontinuing or otherwise declining to involve themselves in such programs because of the potential financial liability.

As we work toward improvement of the state’s economy and the creation of jobs lost in the last several years, the Legislature needs to send loud and clear positive messages to businesses in and out of the state. Enactment of this bill sends such a message.

For these reasons, The Business Council supports this legislation and strongly urges that it be enacted by the New York State Legislature.