Labor & HR Committee Update
February 2, 2012

Staff Contact: Frank Kerbein

Wage Theft Prevention Act

During January, momentum picked up for the repeal of the annual notice requirement of the Wage Theft Prevention Act enacted in 2010 and effective in April 2011. A part of it, the annual wage notice to employees, got the attention of many Business Council members when they experience the time, effort and expense involved during January. Bills to repeal the annual notice, A8856/S6063, picked up sponsors and the Senate bill was reported out of the Senate Labor Committee on January 31st. Here is The Business Council’s memo in support of the repeal. During the month, meetings were held with Assembly and Senate staff, Legislators and members of the Governor’s staff. The Business Council also launched an e-advocacy campaign for the repeal.

Minimum Wage

After Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s January 4th announcement that an increase in the state’s minimum wage was a priority for the Assembly in 2012, the bill was introduced on January 30th. The bill would raise the state’s minimum wage from the current $7.25/hr. to $8.50/hr, a 17.2% increase, on January 1, 2013 and automatically index it to inflation each year thereafter. The Business Council has announced its opposition to the bill. A formal opposition memo is forthcoming. The last series of state minimum wage hikes began in 2005 over the veto of then Governor George Pataki. Passed by the legislature in July of 2004, the bill was immediately vetoed by the governor. The Assembly then overrode the veto in August but the Senate waited to override until December 6th, after the November 2004 elections. Businesses then had only three weeks to prepare for the change.

Family Medical Leave Proposed Changes

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 recent statutory amendments expanded the FMLA’s military caregiver leave and qualifying exigency leave provisions. The amendments extended military caregiver leave to eligible employees whose family members are recent veterans with serious injuries or illnesses, and expanded the definition of a serious injury or illness to include serious injuries or illnesses that result from preexisting conditions. The amendments also expanded qualifying exigency leave to eligible employees with family members serving in the Regular Armed Forces, and added a requirement that for all qualifying exigency leave the military member must be deployed to a foreign country. There’s more… Here are more details and links to FAQs.

National Labor Relations Board Poster

On December 23, 2011, the NLRB postponed their new worker rights poster requirement … again. Now, we’re looking at an April 30, 2012 posting date. Here is their press release.