Below are actual inquiries received by our Resourceline from a Business Council member.

You'll find the latest information on federal and state legislation and regulations dealing with employer-employee relations, including short news updates and in-depth explorations into the bottom line issues for all businesses.

I've been getting warnings in the mail about fines for not having the proper posters in my workplace. Where can I obtain these required posters at little or no cost?

Business Council members my download most the required state and federal posters from The Business Council's Labor & HR Committee web page here.

This should ease your mind about any fines for not having the required posters. If you have any questions about posters or other notification requirements, please call The Business Council's HR Line at 800.332.2117.

Where can I read about requirements under the new Wage Theft Prevention Act?

The New York State Department of Labor has updated a Frequently Asked Questions section on their website. That and other information, including model English and current Foreign Language forms, can be accessed through the department's website.

A nursing mother has approached us about expressing breast milk at work. Area there any specific requirements in New York State?

Yes. Employers must provide written notice of this right to employees returning after the birth of a child and employees must request to do it so the employer can make arrangements.

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) has determined that an unpaid break of a minimum of 20 minutes is appropriate. The number of breaks per day is unspecified.

Employers should review the complete guideline, the LS 702, located on the department's web site. Go to the NYSDOL's web site and enter LS 702 in the search bar to locate it.

New York just enacted a new law which extends COBRA eligibility from 18 months to 36 months. Does this apply to all New York employers regardless of size?

While we might wonder how state insurance law could extend a federal COBRA requirement, it does for those employers, regardless of size, that purchase medical insurance policies from insurance companies and HMOs. However, because of ERISA, New York State has no authority to impose the 36 month requirement on self-insured plans.

In New York State, is there any problem with implementing automatic payroll deposit for my employees?

Be aware that the New York State Labor law places conditions on employers who wish to implement an automatic payroll deposit for their employees. Specifically, employers need to secure a written authorization for the automatic payroll deposit from all their non-exempt employees, and exempt employees who earn less than $900.00 per week. There is no prescribed wording. Employers need to use wording that simply documents the employee's authorization.

Sometimes non-exempt employees at our company must travel in the course of their workday and occasionally even overnight. Is this travel time considered hours worked?

For travel time between work locations for both drivers and passengers is always hours worked. Likewise, travel time to an out of town work location is considered hours worked. Normal commuting, however, is never hours worked.

When out of town overnight, any travel done during the employees' normal work hours, even on days of the week normally off such as weekends, is to be counted as hours worked. Travel time outside of the employee's normal work hours is not considered hours worked for passengers but is hours worked if the employee is driving.

When are new full and part time employees covered under New York State disability?

Full time employees become covered once they have worked for 4 consecutive weeks. Part time employees are eligible for disability benefits on the 25th day of employment for one employer. For disability purposes, any part of a day worked is considered a day of employment. Minors working part time hours after school or on weekends while attending school are not covered.

What is the H1B visa?

The H-1B specialty workers visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals to enter into the U.S. and perform services in a prearranged professional job. The job must be in a 'specialty occupation' and must require a bachelor's degree as a minimum for entry into the field.

Are there requirements for the payment of sales commissions contained in the New York State Labor Law?

Yes. New York State Labor Law section 191(1)(c) requires that the payment of commissions to salespersons be in accordance with the terms of an agreement between the employer and employee, but payments must be at least once a month and not later than the last day of the month following the month in which the commissions are earned. If regular monthly commissions or incentive earnings are “substantial,” then the additional earnings can, by agreement, be paid less frequently than once a month.

I've heard that there are hazardous occupations prohibited for minors by New York State labor law. What are some of them?

For minors under 16, any occupation in a factory is prohibited, except in an enclosed office. For minors under 18, any occupation involving construction work or work in a mine or quarry, any occupation as a helper on a motor vehicle, any occupation involved in the operation of circular saws, bandsaws, guillotine shears, power-driven woodworking equipment, metal punching or shearing, bakery or paper products machines, any logging occupation or any work adjusting machine belts or cleaning, oiling or wiping machinery.

Must employees being recalled from layoff or seasonal staff be reported as new hires as part of the New York State Taxation and Finance "New Hire Reporting"?

If the break in service is 60 calendar days or less, the recalled employee does not have to be reported as a new hire to state Taxation and Finance. If the break in service is more than 60 calendar days, the employee must be reported. A new W-4 is the easiest way to report. The information required to be reported includes the employers' name and address and the employees' name, social security number, address and hire date.

I have federal W-4 withholding forms on file from each of my employees. Must I also have a New York State withholding form on file from each of my employees?

The New York State employee withholding certificate is the form IT-2104. According to the IT-2104 instructions, if the employee does not file and IT-2104, you may use the same number of allowances claimed on the federal W-4 withholding form. Employees are urged to file an IT-2104 with the employer if state withholding allowances are different from the federal allowances or whenever there is a change in the number of allowances.

An employee is leaving us on the 20th of the month. Her insurance coverage will continue until the end of the month. If she elects to continue insurance coverage through COBRA, when will it start?

The purpose of COBRA continuation coverage is to provide uninterrupted insurance coverage once the active employment coverage stops as a result of her leaving your employment. So when she elects COBRA coverage, it will begin on the 1st of the next month because her active employment coverage runs to the end of the month in which the termination of employment occurred.