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Labor & HR Committee Update

Staff Contact: Frank Kerbein
December 19, 2017

Hello Everyone:
Below you will find information regarding new developments in human resource management.  Feel free to contact me directly if you would like any additional information or if you would like to discuss potential impacts and compliance strategies. I can be reached on the HR Line (800) 332-2117 or at frank.kerbein@bcnys.org.

 

Paid Family Leave Update

As you know, the PFL regulations require employers to notify employees of their rights under the law. This notification will generally take three forms: 

  1. Notice of Compliance – Paid Family Leave (PFL-120) – a certificate that indicates you have obtained the necessary PFL insurance or have a Board approved self-insurance plan.  This must be posted in a conspicuous location.  It is only available from your insurance carrier or, if self-insured, from the Workers’ Compensation Board;
  2. Statement of Rights for Paid Family Leave (PFL-271S) – a discussion of employee rights under the law;
  3. Handbook revisions – If you have an employee handbook, the regulations require that it be amended to notify employees of their rights under PFL.

To help with the employee handbook revisions, the Board has just released Model Language for Employee Materials.  This can be found in the Employer Resources section of the PFL website.

The two notices should be posted by 1/1/2018.  Employee handbook revisions should be completed as soon as possible.

 

FAQ's Available for Rules Regarding Employee Scheduling

The New York State Department of Labor has just released a FAQ to help employers better understand recently released proposed regulations regarding employee scheduling.  You can find the FAQ’s here.  These FAQ’s attempt to clarify some of the terms used in the proposed regulations in advance of the end of the comment period.  The comment period ends January 5, 2018.

As we discussed in our last Update, on December 1st, the NYS Department of Labor published proposed regulations in the NYS Register aimed at curbing certain employer staffing practices.  Specifically, the practices of “on-call” and “call-in” scheduling.  These proposed rules would revise the call-in pay requirement of the Minimum Wage Order for Miscellaneous Industries and Occupations (12 NYCRR Part 142). 

The Business Council will be submitting comments on behalf of our members and we want to know how these rules would affect your staffing practices.  Please let me know your thoughts as soon as possible for inclusion in those comments. 

 

Governor Announces Hearings Regarding Tipped Wages

Sunday, Governor Cuomo unveiled his fifth proposal to be included in his 2018 State of the State address: directing the Commissioner of Labor to schedule public hearings to examine and evaluate the possibility of ending minimum wage tip credits in New York State. 

According to the Governor - more than 70 percent of all tipped workers in New York are women. The Governor claims that studies have shown that African-American workers are often tipped less than their white counterparts and that tipped workers often report not being willing to come forward because they are reliant on their employers for shift scheduling, with certain shifts generally tipping more than others. The Governor also claims that tipping practices have been linked to higher rates of sexual harassment.  

The New York State Department of Labor will hold public hearings to solicit input from workers, businesses and others. Those who wish to testify will be able to pre-register on the Department's website. The Department will issue a notice identifying the specific times and locations for the hearings.

 

OSHA Reporting Update - OSHA Accepting Electronically Submitted Injury, Illness Reports Through December 31

OSHA will continue accepting 2016 OSHA Form 300A data through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) until midnight on December 31, 2017. OSHA will not take enforcement action against those employers who submit their reports after the December 15, 2017, deadline but before December 31, 2017, final entry date. Starting January 1, 2018, the ITA will no longer accept the 2016 data.

 

Attention Albany County Employers

On October 10, 2017, the Albany County Legislature passed a law that prohibits businesses based in Albany County with four or more employees from screening or inquiring about a job applicant’s compensation or salary history.   Specifically, the law prohibits the following:

The law does allow employers to confirm an applicant’s prior wages after the employer extends an offer of employment to the applicant and the applicant provides a written authorization to the employer.  The new law becomes effective on December 6, 2017.

In addition to reviewing hiring practices to prevent violations of the new law, Albany county based employers should, at a minimum, ensure questions regarding salary history are removed from employment applications.

 

Minimum Wage Increase

Reminder:  On 12/31/2017 the State’s minimum wage will increase.  See chart below.

Minimum Wage Rate Schedule

Location

Current

12/31/17

12/31/18

12/31/19

12/31/20

2021

NYC-Large Employers (11 or more)

$11.00

$13.00

$15.00

 

 

 

NYC-Small Employers (10 or less)

$10.50

$12.00

$13.50

$15.00

 

 

Long Island & Westchester

$10.00

$11.00

$12.00

$13.00

$14.00

$15.00

Remainder of the NY State

$9.70

$10.40

$11.10

$11.80

$12.50

*

* Annual increases for the remainder of the state will continue after 12/31/20 until the rate reaches $15.  Starting in 2021, the annual increases will be published by the Commissioner of Labor on or before October 1.  Increases will be based on percentage increases determined by the Director of the Division of the Budget, based on economic indices, including the Consumer Price Index. 

In addition, this DOL regulation will also increase New York’s minimum salary levels for positions to be considered exempt from overtime for Executive and Administrative employees.  Under state labor law, the state’s exempt employee threshold is adjusted in proportion to increases in the minimum wage.  They are increased as follows: 

New York City Large Employers (11 or more employees):
$975.00 per week on and after December 31, 2017
New York City Small Employers (10 or fewer employees):
$900.00 per week on and after December 31, 2017
Remainder of Downstate (Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties):
$825.00 per week on and after December 31, 2017
Remainder of the State:
$780.00 per week on and after December 31, 2017

There are other corresponding and proportional increases related to tipped wages, meal and lodging allowances, and more.  You can find the final rule here.

The state’s new minimum wage posters are now available and must be displayed by 12/31/17.  You can find them here:  for Miscellaneous Industries; for Hospitality and Fast Food workers.  

 

Next Webinar

These one hour webinars are designed to cover hot topics in human resource/labor management and to keep you apprised of what’s going on legislatively.  Each of these has been approved for 1-hour of HRCI credit.  Our next webinar is:

 

Topic:             

 

Unlawful Workplace Harassment
It’s all over the news.  Harassment in the workplace is illegal discrimination.  We’ll review the legal environment, what constitutes harassment, and what your obligations are as an employer.

Date:

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Time:

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Cost:

Free to Business Council Members / $49 for Non-Members

Presented by:

Frank Kerbein, Director of the Center for Human Resources
The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Information and on-line registration for this and future labor/HR webinars is available here

In addition, we will have a PFL Q&A webinar on January 18, 2018.  Information on registration will be available soon.