The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board is out with proposed regulations providing guidance to employers, insurance carriers and employees regarding their rights and responsibilities under New York’s new Paid Family Leave law, which is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2018. Comments on the proposed rules will be accepted for 45 days – until April 8th (although we note that’s a Saturday). For our earlier post on the enactment of the Paid Family Leave Act, see here.
Over the next two weeks we will release our Year in Review segment, which will look at the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in New York, the DC Metro Area, Massachusetts, and California while offering our thoughts about 2017. Today we kick off this segment with New York. In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017. Register here.
2016 brought big changes for New York State and City employers, including expansive new discrimination protections and substantial increases in the minimum wage and exempt salary thresholds. While New York employers who successfully navigated 2016’s rush of legislative, regulatory and judicial obstacles might feel they’ve earned the right to shift their focus back from compliance issues to running their businesses, they should not lose sight of the additional challenges expected in 2017.
On February 16, 2017, the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals invalidated and revoked the NYS Department of Labor regulations we wrote about previously (and updated here) governing payment of wages by direct deposit or payroll debit card. The regulations were scheduled to take effect on March 7, 2017.
The New York State Department of Labor has adopted regulations clarifying employers’ rights and obligations when implementing policies that limit the discussion of wages in the workplace. Under New York Labor Law section 194(4), an employer may not prohibit employees from discussing wages, but may establish “reasonable workplace and workday limitations on the time, place and manner for inquiries about, discussion of, or the disclosure of wages.” The DOL’s new regulations provide guidance on the permissible scope of policies that limit wage discussions as well as the notice employers must provide to employees about such policies.
In October, we wrote about the new NYSDOL regulations for employers who use direct deposit and/or payroll debit cards to pay their employees. The regulations take effect on March 7, 2017 – just about a month from now – and they impose a host of new rules on employers, including the requirement to provide notice and obtain consent from employees who elect to receive wages by direct deposit or payroll debit card.
Since a Texas federal judge blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rule from taking effect in November, human resource managers, payroll professionals and employment attorneys (including over here at Employment Matters) have been abuzz about the fact that, at least for now, employers do not need to make sweeping changes to their compensation practices to comply with the rule. What has been less discussed, however, is the impact on New York employers of the New York State Department of Labor’s amendments to New York’s Wage Orders, which become effective on Saturday, December 31, 2016, and which will, among other things, significantly increase the State’s minimum wage rate as well as its the minimum salary thresholds for individuals classified as exempt executives and administrative employees.
The NYSDOL had proposed these changes several months ago and the comment period ended back on December 3rd. But the final rule was issued just yesterday, unchanged from its proposed form. With the clock ticking, New York employers must and should pay immediate attention to these changes and should act quickly to fulfill their ongoing notice and posting obligations while adjusting compensation levels accordingly. We summarize the Wage Order amendments below.
As all HR professionals and employment lawyers know (even those currently living under rocks), the Department of Labor’s final overtime rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016 – less than two weeks from now. The DOL published the rule back on May 18, 2016 providing employers with nearly 200 days to come into compliance. Many have planned accordingly and are ready to go; others are finally focusing on this issue as the deadline nears. At the same time, questions continue to arise over the rule’s fate. In this post, we discuss the current state of play along with some compliance tips for employers.
With Election Day just a week away(!), it’s important that employers familiarize themselves with their employees’ rights to take leave to vote. While there is no Federal law granting employees the right to voting leave, at least half the states provide this right in some form.
As the workplace becomes increasingly digitized, both employers and employees can benefit from the conveniences technology provides. Chief among those is the convenience of electronic access to funds, which allows people to bank, pay bills, and transfer money from a computer or mobile device rather than being constrained by the limitations of brick and mortar financial institutions.
In this vein, many employers have taken advantage of new technology that makes life easier for businesses and their employees. In the realm of wages, electronic payment methods such as payroll debit cards and direct deposit would seem to make life easier. However, beginning on March 7, 2017, New York employers who use these methods to pay wages must pay even closer attention when doing so. That’s because last month the New York State Department of Labor issued Regulations imposing various additional written notice and consent requirements on employers who use methods other than cash or check to pay employees. We summarize those requirements below.
California and New York have each passed laws that will gradually raise their state’s minimum wage rate to $15 per hour. This is a stunning development coming just four years after a small group of New York fast food workers initiated the call for the increase. The new laws will impact millions of Americans and put pressure on other jurisdictions and business to make similar increases in other parts of the country. We briefly break down the new laws below.