Government Affairs Update

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
May 31, 2017

Legislative Update

End of Session Issues
Our updated list of key end of session legislative issues is available here. This is a “living document,” and we will provide additional updates as the last three weeks of session unfolds. Feel free to contact ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org or any of our GAC staff members with questions or comments on these or other legislative issues of concern.

Shareholder Meetings
The Business Council is supporting new legislation that aligns New York’s Business Corporation Law with that of Delaware to allow New York-incorporated businesses to conduct virtual and “hybrid” annual shareholder meetings, in addition to tradition meetings. This has been introduced as S.6506 (Ranzenhofer)/A. 8009 (Dinowitz). Staff contact: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org

Regulatory Update

EO 162 Implementation
The Cuomo Administration intends to issue preliminary guidance on Executive Order 162 by this Thursday, June 1, with a 30 day public comment period prior to finalization. The EO, issued in January 2017, will require most state contractors to submit detailed information on pay levels for their employees working on state contracts, broken down by race/ethnicity and sex. The Business Council has been pushing the Administration to delay its implementation and provide the business community with an opportunity to provide input. We will be circulating the draft to members of our Contract Procurement Committee and other interested members, and we will be submitting comments to the Administration. Key concerns for us are the frequency of submissions (monthly for construction contracts, quarterly for others); the level of detail (employees broken down by up to 850 occupational titles), the lack of effective protections against disclosure of wage data, and others. Staff contacts: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org or frank.kerbein@bcnys.org
Paid Family Leave
Last week the Workers’ Compensation Board release revised proposed rules regarding the administration of New York’s comprehensive Paid Family Leave (PFL) law, clarifying some of the initial proposed regulations released in February. There will be another 30-day comment period related to this revision. You can find the revised proposed rules here. In general, there were minor changes to the burdens placed on insurance carriers, notably, extending the time issuers of disability insurance will have to decide whether or not to provide a PFL policy to their clients or cease doing business in New York.  That period has been extended to 60 days after the Department of Financial Services (DFS) releases the maximum allowable employee weekly contribution amount. Most significantly, the revised proposed rule addresses the issue of part time and full time eligibility for benefits. Generally, those who work less than 20-hours per week will be eligible for PFL after 175 days of employment. Those working more than 20-hours per week will be eligible after 26 weeks of employment. We are in the process of analyzing other changes to the revised rule. For more information, or to provide input into The Business Council’s response comments, please contact frank.kerbein@bcnys.org. Comments are due June 23.

Litigation Update
The following provides summary of two recent legal actions in which The Business Council is participating:

NY City Council Update
Last week, the New York City Council passed a package of bills intended to expand protections for fast food and retail employees. These were primarily designed to curb the practice of “on-call” scheduling. On-call scheduling is when an employer requires an employee to be available to work, to contact the employer or to wait to be contacted by the employer, to determine whether the employee must report to work. The City Council believes this practice is a burden on employees as they make financial, travel and child care plans.  These bills are:
1387-2016-Awould ban the practice of “on-call scheduling” for certain retail employees, unless the business has to close for reasons specified in the bill.

1388-2016-Awould ban “clopenings” for fast food employees with fewer than 11 hours in between shifts. An employer would have to pay $100 to an employee who voluntarily works such shifts. “Clopenings” are when an employee is required to work back-to-back shifts involving closing and opening the establishment.

1395-2016-A would require fast food employers with available work hours to offer shifts to existing employees before hiring new employees. The City Council believes employers often fail to offer existing employees a path toward gaining additional hours and eventual full-time employment by hiring additional part-time employees to fill scheduling gaps.

1396-2016-Awould require fast food employers to provide employees with an estimate of their work schedule upon hire, to provide a work schedule 14 days in advance (including regular and on-call shifts), to post the work schedule in a conspicuous place accessible to all employees, and to pay employees a premium for certain changes to the work schedule that occur fewer than 14 days before the shift.  These premiums range from $10 for a notice of change with less than 14 but more than 7 days’ notice; to $75 for a change with less than 24 hours’ notice. 

1384-2016-A would create a mechanism for fast food workers to make contributions from their salaries to not-for-profits of their choice via payroll deductions and would require employers to deduct and remit such donations to such not-for-profits. Labor organizations would not be eligible to receive donations.

It is expected that Mayor DeBlasio will sign each of these bills and they will become law.

Not to be outdone, the New York State Department of Labor is reportedly considering changes to NY’s “call-in pay” provisions to provide similar protections to all employees. It is anticipated that the DOL will be releasing draft rules intended to curb the practice of on-call scheduling soon. Staff contact: frank.kerbein@bcnys.org