Labor & HR Committee Update
December 12, 2012

Staff Contact: Frank Kerbein

As we approach the end of the year, it is instructive to look back where we’ve been and look forward to where we’re going in 2013.

Wage Theft Prevention Act

The repeal of the annual employee pay notice which was part of the 2010 Wage Theft Prevention Act was our most active HR related issue in 2012. The bill to repeal the annual pay notice was passed by the state Senate in February but was not acted upon by the state Assembly when the legislative session ended in June. In the Fall, discussions about a possible special legislative session near the end of the year gave rise to the possibility that the Assembly could take up the repeal bill before the session year ended. However, a special session now appears unlikely.

So, during January 2013, all businesses in New York State will again have to issue a pay notice to each employee in New York State, obtain an acknowledgement signature for the employee and retain it for six years.

In the meantime, we’ll again be mounting our repeal effort. The bills will be reintroduced by the sponsors for the 2013 session and we’ll start our campaign to recruit co-sponsors and urge leaders in both houses to move the bills to a vote. Our first Business Council HR advocacy effort will begin on January 15th when several HR Professionals from member companies across the state will come to Albany for meetings with staff and legislators.

In 2012, the most compelling part of our advocacy on this issue was the presentation of cost data from Business Council members.  However, we had precious few members who provided it. It would be very helpful in 2013 if we could receive cost data from many more members. To assist members in calculating a cost to the annual pay notice issuance, we devised a basic worksheet with suggested steps to figure out the cost. Your information would be helpful so please consider calculating your cost of compliance in 2013 and letting me know.

Deductions from Paychecks

New, additional, permissible deductions from employee’s paychecks were approved in a bill that was effective in the first week of November. The bill, however, also includes new employer administrative obligations, as well. Here is a summary of both.

Further action still needed on the recovery of paycheck overpayments and pay advances. The new wage deduction bill also contained provisions requiring new regulations to be written detailing a strict process for employers to follow in order to recover overpayments and pay advances.  These regulations, prepared by the state department of labor, have been drafted and will be posted in the state register to solicit comments from the public. After that, final rules will be issued. We do not yet know when this will occur.

What HR Issues to Expect in 2013

This review of HR issues from 2012 gives you a pretty good picture of issues we will face during the 2013 legislative session. The new “Majority Coalition” in the state Senate in 2013 will likely bring up Paid Family Leave, Comparable Worth and Abuse in the Workplace (bullying). The Governor is now backing an increase in the minimum wage in New York State to $8.50/hr. so expect to see that moving as well. Communicating to your state Senator, Assembly Member and the Governor the unintended consequences of these bills, if enacted, on your organization is the only way to balance the information provided by those on the other side of these issues. Think seriously about getting involved.

It’s Happening in Michigan

The Michigan Chamber has issued its latest press release on the passage of right-to-work legislation in both the public and private sectors in the State of Michigan.

“Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012...After over an hour of impassioned debate from both sides, the second Freedom to Work bill (SB 116, the private sector bill) passed the Michigan House by a vote of 58-52. The first bill, House Bill 4003, the public sector bill, was passed earlier today by a vote of 58-51. Both bills now go to Gov. Snyder for his signature.”

Governor Snyder is expected to approve them.

Come to the HR Briefing Nearest You – Save the Date

The dates for the 2013 Business Council HR Legislative Briefings for HR Professionals and other staff of Business Council member companies is out. To catch up on the latest HR related issues during the legislative session, be sure to mark your calendar and plan to attend one. Additional meeting logistics will be posted on the Labor & HR Committee web page prior to each meeting with reminders sent to Business Council Labor & HR Committee members. All members are welcome!

Capital Region Thursday, January 31, 2013 Albany
Mid-Hudson Valley Thursday, April 11, 2013 Poughkeepsie
NYC Wednesday, May 15, 2013 Manhattan
Rochester Area Thursday, May 30, 2013 Pittsford
Long Island Thursday, June 27, 2013 Melville
Southern Tier Wednesday, July 17, 2013 Corning
Central NY Tuesday, August 20, 2013 Syracuse
Western NY Wednesday, August 21, 2013 Buffalo
Northern NY Thursday, September 12, 2013 Gouverneur/Canton

Please contact Frank Kerbein for further information on these issues or events.