This Week in Government Affairs
June 5, 2013
Governor Cuomo has released his “women’s agenda” legislation, with the bill text and support memo available here. The Business Council’s concerns focus on the workplace and pay equity provisions of this bill. Provisions of interest or concern include:
- Part A – In these “pay equity” amendments, we are concerned with lack of definition of the “business necessity” standard, the wage disclosure provisions (extending NLRA protections to management employees), and the “treble damages” for pay equity claims.
- Part C – We are reviewing the attorney fee provisions, including the possible inclusion of provisions addressing administrative adjudication.
- Part I – We believe this definition of pregnancy-related conditions clarifies, but does not expand, existing law, and are considering the need to add statutory language regarding documentation of medical conditions that are the basis for reasonable accommodation analysis.
The Business Council has been working with the Administration and legislature on draft legislation, and some of our concerns are already addressed in this version. Working with the HR professionals and labor law practitioners on our HR/Labor Committee, we are now completing our final review and recommendations on this proposal.
Let NY Work Lobby Day — This week, The Business Council joined with other groups to call on legislators for mandate relief. The agenda Scaffold Law reform, the Taxpayer Protection and Mandate Relief Act, the New York State Mandate Relief for School Districts Act, and Unfunded Mandate Reform. As part of the effort, Business Council members were encouraged to take action through our Fix NY website for the passage of S.111 (Gallivan) / A.3104 (Morelle), which would amend Labor Law sections 240/241.
The Business Council’s OSHA, Environment, and Construction Committees is meeting this week to discuss next steps regarding the Department of Health (“DOH”) "informational letter" that was issued last June to provide additional guidance regarding the State’s interpretation of standard requirements pertaining to vermiculite. The informational letter represents a significant departure from prior regulatory requirements stating that due to no reliable method for determining the presence of asbestos in vermiculite, all vermiculite must be assumed to contain asbestos fibers, and therefore be handled as asbestos containing material (ACM). In addition, NYSDOH went on to say, any material containing 10% vermiculite or more must be treated as ACM, due to the limitations of the current testing. This determination could have significant unforeseen financial and legal consequences.