Labor & HR Committee Update - November 25, 2014

NYC enacts mandated pre-tax transit benefits

Last month, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted a requirement that New York City private sector employers of 20 or more employees offer pre-tax transit benefits. Existing federal tax laws already allow businesses to offer workers $130 a month as pre-tax income for transportation. This new requirement is effective in January 2016. Off and on since 2004, we’ve seen a similar bill proposal statewide applicable to private sector employers of 50 employees or more. These bills have remained in committee. Here is more information on the new New York City law.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month.

There are over 380,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease throughout New York State, and more than 1 million caregivers statewide, 75% of whom are still employed.  Given these numbers, it is likely that you have at least one, if not several, employees who are caregivers.  Creating a work-life balance is especially difficult for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, but community services to assist them are available through the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance, a free program of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Through the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance, your company can enlist the expertise of the Association to ensure that those employees who are Alzheimer’s caregivers can maximize both their capacity to work and care for a loved one simultaneously.  When your business joins the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance, you and your employees are entitled to:

The Alzheimer’s Association also always provides a suite of complimentary services including a 24/7 Helpline, chapters throughout New York (and in communities nationwide), and a comprehensive website (www.alz.org) with a wealth of information, online tools and educational resources.

Alzheimer’s disease is not only one of the nation’s largest public health threats, it is also a huge threat to our economy.  Businesses lose approximately $36.5 billion annually due to lost productivity associated with employees providing care for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. With the aging Baby Boomer population, this number will skyrocket.   Partnering  with the Alzheimer’s Association to offer free services  through the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance will demonstrate your support for your employees facing this emotionally, physically, and financially draining disease.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, its effects on the workplace, or how you can join the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance, contact the NYS Coalition of Alzheimer’s Association Chapters at 518-867-4999, ext. 208 or email the Director of Statewide Initiatives, Jane Ginsburg, at jginsburg@alz.org.

Rochester bans the box

In May, Rochester joined Buffalo in banning the box. The western New York city adopted legislation restricting the timing of pre-employment inquiries into a candidate’s criminal history by most Rochester public and private employers of 4 or more employees. The “box” refers to the box on employment applications inquiring whether an applicant has any criminal history. Here is more information about the new Rochester law.