This seemingly straightforward bill is intended to promote flexible work arrangements that benefit employees and employers alike.
However, the bill creates a new statutory mandate on employers and an intrusive investigation mechanism, and provides the Department of Labor with new, ambiguous enforcement powers.
Employers are in the best position to establish staffing plans that best meet the needs of the company and their customers. Employers can and do work cooperatively with their employees to address individual scheduling concerns.
However, this bill would put substantial restrictions on the ability of New York employers to maintain a flexible work arrangement for the benefit of the employer and the employee. The bill creates bargaining obligations on employers where there is no union representation – resulting in one-on-one negotiating sessions with individual employees regarding the terms and conditions of employment. The administrative and cost burden of this bill being extensive – The Business Council, on behalf of it’s more than 2,300 members opposes this proposed legislation.
The bill would give the Commissioner the unprecedented ability to authorize a representative to have the power to investigate any complaint lodged by any employee as a result of this bill. One would assume employee advocacy organizations – including organized labor - would be so designated. Offering these organizations access to private employers “records” – including financial records – to conduct such an investigation is an overreach and would surely have a detrimental effect on business and job growth in New York State.
All employers would be subject to having timely, good faith discussions with any employee who chooses to discuss the terms and conditions of employment. Each employee could engage in this “bargaining session” regarding “regular working arrangements” including but not limited to changes in the number of days or hours worked, the actual time they would like to report to and leave work, and even the location where the employee would like to work. It is wrong for the legislature to impose a “duty to bargain” on an employer without having the normal required process of certifying union representation and engaging in similar good faith negotiations.
This government interference in the scheduling practices of private employers, on top of the already burdensome application of Paid Family Leave, makes effective scheduling of staff nearly impossible. This burden will have especially dire consequences for small employers.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be enacted.