1. Wage board. A wage board shall be composed of not more than three representatives of employers, an equal number of representatives of employees and an equal number of persons selected from the general public. The commissioner shall appoint the members of the board, the representatives of the employers and employees to be selected so far as practicable from nominations submitted by employers and employees in such occupation or occupations. The commissioner shall designate as the chairman one of the members selected from the general public. The members of the board shall not receive a salary or other compensation, but shall be paid actual and necessary traveling expenses while engaged in the performance of their duties.
2. Organization. The chairman of the board is authorized to delegate to a panel of the members, composed of an equal number of employer, employee and public members, any or all of the powers which the board itself may exercise, except as otherwise provided in subdivision four of this section. Two-thirds of the members of the board or of a panel, as the case may be, shall constitute a quorum. The commissioner may from time to time formulate rules governing the manner in which the wage board shall function and perform its duties under this article.
3. Powers. The wage board shall have power to conduct public hearings. The board may also consult with employers and employees, and their respective representatives, in the occupation or occupations involved, and with such other persons, including the commissioner, as it shall determine. The board shall also have power to administer oaths and to require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses, and the production of all books, records, and other evidence relative to any matters under inquiry. Such subpoenas shall be signed and issued by the chairman of the board, or any other public member, and shall be served and have the same effect as if issued out of the supreme court. The board shall have power to cause depositions of witnesses residing within or without the state to be taken in the manner prescribed for like depositions in civil actions in the supreme court. The board shall not be bound by common law or statutory rules of procedure or evidence.
4. Report. Within forty-five days of the appointment of the wage board to inquire into wages in any occupation or occupations, the board shall (a) conduct public hearings and (b) submit to the commissioner a report, including its recommendations as to minimum wages and regulations for the employees in such occupation or occupations. The report and recommendations of the board shall be submitted only after a vote of not less than a majority of all its members in support of such report and recommendations. No report or recommendation of a panel shall be submitted without the prior vote of not less than a majority of all the members of the board in support of such report or recommendation. The commissioner may extend up to ninety days the time in which the report shall be submitted.
5. Minimum wage recommendations. (a) The minimum wage recommended by the wage board shall not be in excess of an amount sufficient to provide adequate maintenance and to protect the health of the employees. In no event, however, shall any minimum wage recommended by the board be less than the wage specified in section six hundred fifty-two of this chapter, except (1) as expressly otherwise provided in paragraph (c) of this subdivision, and (2) where the board finds conditions of employment are such as to make an hourly rate impracticable, in which event the board may recommend a wage rate other than an hourly rate, provided that such recommended rate carries out the purposes of this article and safeguards the minimum wage specified in section six hundred fifty-two of this chapter. The board may classify employments in any occupation according to the nature of the work rendered and recommend minimum wages in accordance with such classification. The board may also recommend a minimum wage varying with localities if, in the judgment of the board, conditions make such variation appropriate.
(b) In addition to recommendations for minimum wages, the wage board may recommend such regulations as it deems appropriate to carry out the purposes of this article and to safeguard minimum wages. Such recommended regulations may include regulations defining the exclusions from the term “employee” set forth in subdivision five of section six hundred fifty-one . Such recommended regulations may also include, but are not limited to, regulations governing piece rates, incentives, and commissions in relation to time rates; overtime or part-time rates; waiting time and call-in pay rates; wage rate provisions governing split shift, excessive spread of hours and weekly guarantees; and allowances for gratuities and, when furnished by the employer to his employees, for meals, lodging, apparel and other such items, services and facilities.
(c) The wage board may also recommend, to the extent necessary in order to prevent curtailment of opportunities for employment, regulations for (1) the employment of learners and apprentices, under special certificates issued by the commissioner, at such wages lower than the minimum wage established by this article and subject to such limitations as to time, number, proportion and length of service as shall be prescribed in such regulation, (2) the employment of individuals whose earning capacity is affected or impaired by youth or age or by physical or mental deficiency or injury, under special certificates issued by the commissioner, at such wages lower than the minimum wage established by this article and for such period as shall be prescribed in such regulation, (3) the establishment of a period not extending beyond seventeen consecutive weeks during which a resort hotel or camp may employ students under special certificates issued by the commissioner, at such wages lower than the minimum wage established by this article as shall be prescribed in such regulation, and (4) the employment of residential employees in a non-profit making religious, charitable or educational organization or in a non-profit making college or university sorority or fraternity under special certificates issued by the commissioner at such weekly wage as shall be prescribed in such regulation.
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