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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.

Don’t Forget About the Interactive Process in Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Monday, June 04, 2018

When an employee informs an employer he/she has a disability that requires accommodation, employers must remember that engaging in an interactive process with that employee is imperative.  It is not enough for an employer to simply provide what it believes is a reasonable accommodation.  The interactive process must be used to facilitate a conversation between employer and employee to determine the different reasonable accommodation possibilities.  They can then decide together what the best option will be for that employee, as long as that option is not an undue burden on the employer. 

Expected 2019 PFL Developments

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

As New York State employers continue to manage their first year of paid family leave (PFL) benefits available to employees in 2018 (8 weeks maximum), comments and predictions about what the Legislature might do for 2019 have emerged.  As expected, we have heard that the disability insurers who pay out the PFL benefits to eligible employees are indicating that the current amount withheld from employees’ pay to cover PFL benefits is insufficient. 

New Anti-Harassment Provisions for Employers

Thursday, April 26, 2018

This month, Governor Cuomo signed a new anti-harassment law, and it contains provisions for private and public employers related to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Effectively immediately, employees are protected from harassment not only by other employees, but also “non-employees,” which can include vendors, consultants, contractors, and others providing services pursuant to a contract. 

Legislators Seek to Curb After-Hours Work

Monday, April 09, 2018

As reported recently by the Associated Press, a New York City Council member, perhaps influenced by a recent French law, has proposed legislation to allow some employees the right to ignore after-hours communications from employers. The proposal would apply to NYC employers with 10 or more employees, and would prohibit them from requiring employees to respond to or act on after-hours telephone calls, texts, emails etc. that are not emergencies, or discipline them for failing to do so.  It would not bar employers from sending such emails, and employees could respond if they so choose.

PFL Deductions Regulation Clarified

Thursday, March 29, 2018

A new regulation clarifies how deductions can be made from employee paychecks to fund New York’s Paid Family Leave program. 

Until this month, the general understanding was that a maximum of 0.126% of New York State Average Weekly Wage paycheck could be deducted from employees’ weekly wages.  That meant any deductions were capped at $1.65 a week.

Proposed Legislation: The Sunlight in Workplace Harassment Act

Monday, March 19, 2018

In another attempt to stem sexual harassment in the workplace, legislation proposed in both the House and the Senate at the end of last month would require publicly traded companies to report information related to harassment or discrimination settlements and complaints in their SEC filings.  So far the measure lacks bipartisan support, but this latest proposed legislation is further evidence that workplace harassment and discrimination has lawmakers’ attention and will for a long time to come. 

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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