A bill that would help workers get paid in the wake of employers stealing their wages is sitting on Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk waiting for his sign-off.

The Securing Wages Earned Against Theft bill—dubbed the SWEAT bill—passed this summer after years of advocacy for the bill, which gives employees the ability to place a lien on their employers' assets while a court case is proceeding. The legislation would give workers a tool to collect their wages after winning a wage theft case, particularly when employers transfer their assets under a new company names to avoid paying workers, advocates say.

"Workers have been waiting and fighting for this bill for many years," Sarah Ahn, an organizer with the Flushing Workers Center, told Gothamist. A version of the bill was first introduced in the state legislature in 2013.

"There's no incentive for these employers to actually follow the law," Ahn said. "Honestly, it's only going to get worse if the governor does not sign SWEAT into law and take steps to strengthen the enforcement."

These "criminal bosses" already "know that it's so easy to avoid the responsibility that either they ignore the whole process or if they need to, then they transfer their money, their assets [to] make sure workers don't actually collect anything at the end of the day," Ahn said.

In one case, former Westchester construction worker Jose Bisono and his two co-workers won more than $300,000 in a federal court case against their employer TDL Restoration, Inc. But months later, he has still not received his share for the some 1,000 unpaid hours he and two co-workers worked, according to Bisono. Following the case, the employer dropped all contact with his lawyer, Bisono said.

"We want answers—me and the other employers," Bisono, who worked for the contracting company between 2015 and 2017, told Gothamist.

"It was not enough for me to pay daycare, buy my son's clothes, get my wife things, pay my bills," he said. "It was really hard for me around that time."

It is unclear why exactly TDL Restoration has not paid the workers, but Bisono sees the SWEAT bill as a way of forcing employers to pay workers following a court victory. "I want this law to be signed so that, in the future, other people don't have the same problem I have," he said.

TDL did not respond to a request for comment.

Some groups oppose the SWEAT bill, including the New York City Hospitality Alliance, who say the legislation would hurt small businesses and spur bankruptcies for employers trying to "get rid of the liens."

But Ahn argued the bill only "makes our most basic labor laws enforceable," like overtime and minimum wage requirements.

Cuomo spokesperson Jason Conwall said the governor would have to take action by the end of the day January 1st. If he takes no action, the bill becomes law. Workers and advocates have been picketing at Cuomo's Manhattan office for weeks, urging him to sign the bill.

"This is a real failure on his part to represent the working people in his state," Ahn said. "It's really abhorrent that he's refusing to sign."