Category Archives: New York City

NEW LAW – New York City To Require Lactation Rooms

Attention New York City employers, under a new law (Int. 879-A and Int. 905-A), which takes effect on March 18, 2019, employers with 4 or more employees will be required to provide “lactation rooms” for breastfeeding employees to express milk in the workplace.  In addition, employers must develop a written policy relating to lactation accommodation that must be provided to all employees and all new employees upon hire.

The City Commission on Human Rights will be developing a model policy that employers can use.

ATTENTION NYC EMPLOYERS: Did You Comply With The New Sexual Harassment Notice Requirements?

The new New York City sexual harassment law (Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act — Local Law 95 of 2018 and  Local Law 96 of 2018) requires all New York City employers distribute the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ mandatory fact sheet on the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” to all new employees starting September 6, 2018.

In addition, starting September 6, 2018, all New York City employers are required to post information in the workplace regarding the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.  The required poster is available in both English and Spanish  and must be published in other languages.

Finally, while not required, we strongly recommend that all  all New York City employers distribute the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ mandatory fact sheet on the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act” to all existing employees.

NEW POSTER:  NYC Publishes New Sexual Harassment Poster

Earlier this year, New York City enacted new laws requiring NYC employers to educate their employees about workplace harassment and sexual harassment.

Under the new law, the NYC Commission on Human Rights is required to provide employers with certain tools to help NYC employers comply with the new law.  These tools include:

  • Creating a workplace poster addressing the new law (in both English and Spanish)
  • Develop a model anti-harassment policy
  • Develop a model standard complaint form
  • Develop a model anti-harassment training program.

Workplace Poster

The NYC Commission on Human Rights recently published the English version of the new workplace poster (the Spanish version is still forthcoming).  Starting September 6, 2018, all NYC employers are required to display this poster (and the Spanish version) in a prominent location in the workplace.

We recommend that employers post this poster as soon as possible.

Workplace Notice

In addition to the poster, the NYC Commission on Human Rights has also released a “Stop Sexual Harassment Act Factsheet”.  This factsheet is intended to help employers meet the requirement of providing all employees (and new hires) with notice of the anti-harassment law.  Employers may either distribute this factsheet to all existing employees and new hires and/or they can incorporate the information in the factsheet into an anti-harassment policy in the employee handbook or a free-standing policy.

We recommend that employers provide this factsheet to all current employees and new hires. Continue reading NEW POSTER:  NYC Publishes New Sexual Harassment Poster

New York State and New York City Amend Sexual Harassment Laws

In a strong response to the #MeToo movement, New York State and New York City recently enacted significant amendments to the state and city human rights laws to add detailed requirements for the adoption of a sexual harassment prevention program, including mandatory sexual harassment policies, posters, and training programs.

New York State Law

Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

Continue reading New York State and New York City Amend Sexual Harassment Laws

New York City Adds Safe Time to Existing Sick Leave Law

 

Starting May 5, 2018, New York City employers must permit employees to take paid sick leave when they or their family members are victims of family offense matters, sexual offenses, stalking, and human trafficking.  These changes come through an amendment of New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act which will now be known as the Earned Sick and Safe Time Act (Act).  Thus, employers should modify their sick leave policies accordingly.

Added Uses for Sick Time

The amendments to the Act expand the reasons an employee may request time off (paid or unpaid) under the sick leave law, but not the amount of leave that must be provided.  Under the amendments, an employee may request leave if the employee or an employee’s family members has been the victim of a family offense (including domestic violence and disorderly conduct), sexual offense, stalking or human trafficking and needs time off to do any of the following:

  • Obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other shelter or services program;
  • Participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other action to increase safety to the employee or employee’s family members from future family offense matters;
  • Meet with a civil attorney or other social service provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceedings;
  • File a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;
  • Enroll children in a new school; or
  • Take other action necessary to maintain, improve, or restore the physical, psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee or the employee’s family members, or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.

Expanded Definition of Family Member

The Act also expands the definition of family member under the sick leave law for both sick and safe time purposes.  This term will include:

  • Any individual related by blood to the employee; and
  • Individuals whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

Same Rules for Absences and Supporting Evidence Continue reading New York City Adds Safe Time to Existing Sick Leave Law

NEW LAW: Salary History Questions are banned in New York City

The New York City council recently passed a bill (Int No. 1253-A) that, when it goes into effect on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 (180 days after the bill was signed on May 4, 2017), will ban employers from considering a job applicant’s salary history when making hiring decisions (whether to hire the applicant and the salary to pay the applicant).

Specifically, the new ordinance prohibits employers from doing the following:

  • Asking questions relating to a potential employee’s prior salary; and
  • Searching for former salary, benefits, or other compensation information through any publicly available source.

Employers are still permitted to:

  • Consider salary, benefits, and other compensation information if an applicant reveals this information voluntarily and without prompting; and
  • Discuss expectations regarding salary, benefits, or other compensation.

It is recommended that New York City employers review their employment applications and verify that any inquiries about salary history are removed. In addition, any interview question templates should be reviewed and questions relating to salary history should be removed. Finally, all employees who participate in interviews should be trained not to inquire about salary history.

New Wage and Hour Restrictions For NY City Fast Food And Retail Industry Employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed the “Fair Workweek” bills into law. This “bill package” includes 5 bills that will place new restrictions on retail and fast food employers with regard to employee scheduling, hiring, and pay practices starting November 26, 2017 (when the laws go into effect).

Retail Employees

Only one of the bills (Int 1387) in the package effects retail employers in NYC by imposing new requirements relating to the scheduling of retail employees. For purposes of this law, a retail employer is a business with 20 or more employees primarily engaged in the sale of consumer goods at one or more stores in New York City.

Under this law, retail employers are:

  • Prohibited from scheduling retail employees to “on-call” shifts (i.e. Requiring a retail employee to be available for a defined period of time without guaranteeing the employee an actual shift)
  • Required to provide retail employees with a written copy of their work schedule at least 72 hours before the start of the employee’s first shift
  • Required to provide retail employees with at least 72 hours’ advance notice before adding, canceling or changing a retail employee’s scheduled shift
    • Exceptions apply for special circumstances, like a state of emergency or natural disaster and
    • Employees are still able to voluntarily trade shifts and voluntarily request time off

The new law also imposes new recordkeeping and posting obligations on retail employers:

  • All work schedules for a location must be “conspicuously posted” at least 72 hours prior to a shift. If a work schedule is normally distributed electronically, then the schedule must be circulated electronically within this timeframe.
  • Retail employers must keep employees’ schedules for any week for a period of 3 years and provide copies of past schedules upon request.

Retail employees who are covered by a valid collectively bargaining agreement are exempted from these requirements provided that

  1. the CBA expressly addresses scheduling and
  2. the provisions of the bill are expressly waived in the CBA.

Fast Food Employers

The remaining four bills effects fast food employers in NYC. For purposes of these laws, a fast food employer is an establishment:

  • with the primary purpose of serving food or drink;
  • where patrons order and pay before eating;
  • that are part of a chain; and
  • that are one of 30 or more establishments nationally (considering franchisor and franchisee together).

The first bill (Int. No. 1388) prohibits fast food employers from scheduling employees to work “consecutive work shifts”. Under this law, fast food employees must be provided a minimum of 11 hours between the end of one shift and the start of another. If an employee works a consecutive shift, the employee must be paid $100 for each consecutive shift worked.

The second bill (Int. No. 1395) addresses fast food hiring. Under this law, when a new shift comes available, fast food employers are required to offer the new shifts to existing employees at that location before hiring a new employee to work the shift and/or before transferring an employee from another location.

In addition, when a new shift is available, fast food employers are required to post a notice indicating that a shift is available and keep this offer open for at least three days. This notice must also be provided to employees electronically. Finally, if a current employee accepts the shift, the employee may be entitled to receive a “shift change premium” (explained below).

The third bill (Int. No. 1396) requires fast food employers to provide employees with advanced notice of their work schedule. Under this law, fast food employers are required to provide employees with their schedules for a 7-day workweek at least 14 days before the first scheduled shift. Failure to adhere to these scheduling requirements results in a “shift change premium,” being paid to effected employees, which can range from $10 to $75 per occurrence.

The fourth bill (Int. No. 1384) allows employers to, upon receipt of written authorization from the employee, deduct voluntary contributions to covered not-for-profit organizations from employees’ paychecks. In addition, once an employee authorizes such a deduction, employers are required to remit the deducted monies to the organization no later than 15 days after the deduction is made.

The new law also imposes new recordkeeping and posting obligations on fast food employers:

  • All work schedules for a location must be “conspicuously posted” at least 72 hours prior to a shift. If a work schedule is normally distributed electronically, then the schedule must be circulated electronically within this timeframe.
  • Fast food employers must keep employees’ schedules for any week for a period of 3 years and provide copies of past schedules upon request.

Take home for NYC Retail and Fast Food Employers

As stated above, these new laws go into effect on November 27, 2017. Prior to the effective date, it is recommended that NYC retail and fast food employers take the following actions:

  • Review the new laws and familiarize yourself with the new obligations under these laws;
  • Train your managers, supervisors, and persons responsible for creating the schedule on the new scheduling requirements and create procedures for these employees to follow when scheduling employees;
  • Develop a system to track/verify that the scheduling requirements are being met and to track for schedule changes that occur after notice deadlines have passed, so that employees can receive the “shift change premium;”
  • Consult with your payroll provider and verify that they have the ability to include the “shift change premium” payments in payroll;
  • Implement record-retention practices that are consistent with these new laws; and
  • Prepare consent notices to be issued to employees who voluntarily agree to shift changes or trade shifts with other employees.

 

New Year’s Eve Brings Changes in Wage and Hour Laws for Certain New York Workers

New York (City) is famous for its New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but this New Year’s Eve, Hospitality Industry and Fast Food Industry workers throughout New York State have even more reason to celebrate. Why? The new Hospitality Industry Wage Order and the new Fast Food Industry Wage Order go into effect, which results in increased minimum wages for effective employees.

New York employers in the Hospitality and Fast Food Industries, are you prepared for the following changes effective December 31, 2015?

Changes Impacting Both Hospitality And Fast Food Industry Employers

  • Increase in the minimum salary requirements for exempt executive or administrative employees from $656.25 to $675

Changes Impacting Hospitality Industry Employers Not Covered By The Fast Food Industry Wage Order

  • Increase in minimum wage from $8.75 to $9.00 per hour
    • As a result, the minimum overtime rate increases to $13.50 per hour
  • Decrease in the maximum tip credit amount for tipped employees from $3.75 to $1.50 (in other words, the minimum cash wage that must be paid to tipped employees is $7.50 per hour)
    • As a result, the minimum overtime rate for tipped employees increases to $12.00 per hour
  • All tipped service employees (e.g. tipped food service workers, tipped delivery workers) are subject to the $1.50 tip credit not just food service workers (in other words, all tipped employees must receive $7.50 per hour)
  • Increase in the uniform allowance to:
    • $11.20 per week for those working over 30 hours;
    • $8.85 per week for those working between 20 and 30 hours; and
    • $5.35 per week for those working under 20 hours
  • Increase in the maximum meal credit for non-service employees to $3.10 per meal
    • NOTE: the meal credit for all service workers stays at $2.50 per meal
  • Increase in spread-of-hours pay from $8.75 to $9.00 per hour

Changes Impacting Fast Food Industry Employers

While the lawfulness of the new Fast Food Order is still being litigated, the New York Department of Labor has taken the position that the Order is effective December 31, 2016. Therefore, it is advisable that New York employers in the fast food industry implement the below-listed changes.

  • Increase in minimum wage to $10.50 per hour (New York City employers) and $9.75 per hour (New York employers outside of New York City)
  • Increase in overtime rates to $15.75 per hour (New York City employers) and $14.63 per hour (New York employers outside of New York City)

Please be advised, the new Fast Food Order does not address the uniform allowance, spread of pay, or tip credits. With respect to the uniform allowance, the best practice is to comply with the increases set forth in the Hospitality Industry Wage Order (since the Fast Food Industry is a subset of the Hospitality Industry). With respect to spread-of-hours pay, under New York law, spread-of-hours pay must match minimum wage; therefore, the spread-of-hours pay rate will increase to $10.50 per hour (New York City employers) and $9.75 per hour (New York employers outside of New York City). Finally, with respect to tip credit, since tip credits are not addressed, the best practice would be not to utilize a tip credit for any fast food industry employee.

 

New York City Employers Required to Offer Transit Benefits in the New Year

Under the provisions of the New York City Affordable Transit Act (Local Law 53), starting January 1, 2016, New York City employers will be required to offer an employer program to allow full-time employees to apply pre-tax income toward the purchase of qualified transportation fringe benefits up to $130 per month (which is the monthly limit established by federal law).

The Affordable Transit Act applies to New York City employers with 20 or more non-union full-time employees. The Act’s requirements also extend to include temporary help firms (i.e., firms that recruit, hire and supply employees to perform services for another organization).

Under the provisions of the Act, a full-time employee is any employee who works for a single employer an average of 30 hours or more per week, any portion of which is in New York City. Once an employee becomes eligible for the benefit, he/she remains eligible for the duration of his/her employment with the employer, even if the employer later reduces its workforce to fewer than 20 full-time employees. Employers are not required to provide this benefit to part-time, temporary or seasonal employees or to independent contractors.

There are several types of transportation expenses that are covered by this Act. These expenses include New York City regional mass transit services (e.g., Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway and bus, Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Metro-North), eligible ferry and water taxi services, van pool services and commuter bus services, and Access-A-Ride. However, an employee’s parking and bicycling expenses are not covered. Additionally, employers who already provide their employees with transit passes will not be required to provide the transit benefits, but if the value of an employer-provided transit pass is less than $130 per month, then the employees must be given an opportunity to make up the difference through a pre-tax payroll deduction.

New York City employers are also required to keep records that show employees were provided the opportunity to apply pre-tax income toward the purchase of transit benefits. Employers must also keep record of whether the employee accepted or declined the offer. These records must be kept for a period of two years. In order to assist New York City employers with these record-keeping requirements, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) has developed a model form that employers can use to maintain these records. In addition, the DCA has posted a list of frequently asked questions to assist employers in compliance with the new law.

 

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.

 

New York City’s Fair Chance Act

On October 27, 2015, New York City’s Fair Chance Act went into effect. This new legislation is designed to promote the hiring of individuals who have prior criminal convictions.

Under the new legislation, employers in New York City who employer 4 or more employees are prohibited from engaging in the following conduct prior to making an offer of employment to an applicant:

  1. Placing job ads that mention arrests, convictions, or having a clean record, such as “no felons,” “background check required,” or “must have clean record”;
  2. Asking an applicant questions about his or her criminal record;
  3. Searching public records on an applicant’s criminal record;
  4. Having an applicant complete a background check disclosure and authorization forms; or
  5. Conducting a background check on an applicant.

In addition to these “pre-offer” restrictions, employers are also subject to greater restrictions in their ability to revoke a conditional offer of employment following a criminal background check than currently set forth under New York State law.

Under New York State law, a conditional offer of employment may only be revoked based on the results of a criminal background check after the employer considers specific factors set forth in the Correction Law § 753 and determines, based upon those factors, that:

  1. There is a direct relationship between one or more of the previous criminal offenses and the … employment sought or held by the individual; or
  2. The granting or continuation of employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.

Under the Fair Chance Act, New York City employers are also required to provide an applicant whose conditional offer is being revoked with the following information:

  1. A copy of Article 23-A of the New York Corrections Law;
  2. Results of the background check report or inquiry; and
  3. A copy of the employer’s “analysis and the factors used to make the decision” under Article 23-A of the Corrections Law, which can be provided using the NYC Commission on Human Rights Fair Chance Act Notice (Article 23-A Evaluation Form).

Following delivery of the analysis to the applicant, the employer must give the applicant at least three (3) business days to respond to the analysis (during which time the position must be held open for the applicant).

The take home message for New York City employers — proceed cautiously when taking applicant’s criminal history into consideration. New York City employers should review their hiring practices and ensure that these practices are in compliance with the Fair Chance Act. In addition, New York City employers should review all job postings and advertisements, and make sure that these posting do not state that there is any ban on hiring applicants with a criminal history.

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.