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Legislative Updates provided by Underberg & Kessler LLP

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Paid Family Leave 2019 Update

Friday, September 07, 2018

Employees will pay more of their paycheck towards the Paid Family Leave benefit program in 2019 - 0.153% of gross wages up to a yearly maximum of $107.97 (up from 0.126%/$85.56 in 2018). Moreover, as per the original provisions of the Paid Family Leave law, employees will be permitted to take up to 10 weeks of paid family leave in 2019, and receive 55% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $746.41.  

Deadline for New Sexual Harassment Prevention Requirements Fast Approaching

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

In April, we wrote about new steps New York State is taking to prevent harassment in the workplace, including requiring New York employers to comply with policy and training requirements.

Lululemon Employees Likely to be Conditionally Certified for Allegations of Unpaid Wages

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Earlier this month, a New York Federal Court magistrate recommended conditional certification of a class of Lululemon employees who allege they were expected to take yoga classes at studios to promote Lululemon apparel, and perform other work related tasks off the clock.  Lululemon paid the fee for the classes but did not pay the employees to attend, calling it “community work.”  The employees allege they spent approximately five hours each week in fitness classes and another five hours per week performing other tasks.

Court Holds that USC Cannot Force Employees/Investors in its Retirement Plan to Arbitrate their Breach of Fiduciary Duties Claims

Monday, August 06, 2018

Employers with retirement plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) often seek to reduce their potential class action liability for breach of fiduciary duty claims by including mandatory arbitration clauses in employment agreements. University of Southern California (USC) workers challenged the school's management of its plans in federal court several years ago, despite the arbitration clauses in their agreement.

Changes to Taylor Law

Friday, July 27, 2018

This year, Governor Cuomo signed a law making changes to the Taylor Law to strengthen public unions.  The Taylor Law, officially the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, defines the rights and limitations for public employees in New York.  The major changes to the existing law include the following:

Arbitration Agreements as a Condition of Employment are Enforceable

Monday, July 16, 2018

The US Supreme Court recently upheld mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts that waived an employee’s right to bring class or collective actions.

NON-UNION PUBLIC PROFILE EMPLOYEES NO LONGER CAN BE FORCED TO PAY UNION AGENCY FEES

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

For approximately 40 years, public sector employee unions could collect union “agency fees” from the paychecks of even those employees who chose not to join the union.  The premise was that even non-members benefitted from the contracts the unions negotiated with public entities, so should have to pay at least something for that benefit.  Many of the non-member employees objected because the unions at times took positions on political or other issues with which they disagreed, but were forced to pay to support.  The U.S.

Bereavement Leave Likely to Be Added to NY Paid Family Leave

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The NYS Legislature has passed a bill which would add bereavement leave to the list of permissible reasons to take paid family leave.  The bill would allow employees to use paid family leave after the death of a family member.  It would also allow those who have already been using paid family leave to care for a family member to use any remaining time for bereavement.

New Guidance for Handbooks from NLRB

Monday, June 18, 2018

Earlier this month, the NLRB issued a guidance on employee handbook rules, which follows its landmark decision in The Boeing Company last December.  The Boeing case established a new standard when evaluating whether a work rule violates the law, and focused on the negative impact on the employees’ ability to exercise their rights and the policy’s connection to the employer’s right to maintain discipline and productivity in the workplace.  The guidance signals that the new General Counsel will take a more employer friendly approach than the Obama NLRB did in interpreting federal la

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Baker Refusing to Create Cake for Same-Sex Couple Does Not Change Law for Employers

Friday, June 08, 2018

In a narrow recent Decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission illegally found against a baker who claimed his religious beliefs prevented him from creating a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.   The key was that the Commission allowed other bakers to refuse to create cakes that demeaned gays and same-sex marriages.

Governmental Affairs
06

Senator Bill Sampson has provided this summary of a new bill that he introduced to lessen the impact of the Wage Theft Prevention Act's notice requirements by eliminating the annual notice.  He asks that SHRM members contact their representatives to encourage passage of this bill.

 

S.6063-A/A.8856-A will eliminate the requirement that employers annually provide a written notice regarding pay and other information to every employee.  This annual notice requirement was statutorily imposed in 2010 through enactment of the Wage Theft Protection Act (Chapter 564 of 2010), and failure to comply with this mandate is subject to a penalty of $50 per employee.

 

The law requires all employers -- even the vast majority of law-abiding employers who have never cheated their employees out of any wages – to obtain from each employee and retain for at least six years a signed and dated acknowledgement form confirming that notice of their pay rate.  The employee must also receive a copy.

 

This universal mandate requires all employers to dedicate staff and to incur additional payroll system and document storage costs.  A better option would be to impose an annual notification mandate on employers who have been found to be non-compliant.  Under current law, it imposes costs upon most employers while offering benefits to few employees.

 

New York State is known throughout the nation for its tangle of laws and regulations that make it notoriously unfriendly to business and job creation.  The annual notice requirement imposed by the Wage Theft Protection Act is but one example of a well-intentioned but unnecessarily burdensome mandate that has help New York earn its anti-business reputation.

 

This legislation would make compliance far less burdensome without undermining the overall protections afforded by the original law.

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