NY Paid Family Leave Amendments for 2022

Changes in Paid Family Leaves NY Paid Family Leave laws changed as of January 1, 2022 based on amendments adopted by the New York State Workers Compensation Board. Intermittent Paid Family Leave Days The Board clarified that family leave days taken intermittently must correlate to the weekly average number of days the employee works. When the law originally went into effect, it capped Paid Family Leave (PFL) days at 60 days. The amendment removes the 60-day cap. It now allows workers to take additional PFL days intermittently, if the employee works more than an average of five days per week. Siblings Included as Family Members In addition, PFL initially applied to family members for bonding with a new child, caring for a seriously ill family member (child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, spouse or domestic partner). It also covered assistance when an active military member is deployed. The amendment expanded the definition of family member to include siblings (effective January 1, 2023). This means a family member can go on PFL to attend to a sibling with a serious medical condition or illness. The maximum weekly PFL benefit increased to $1,068.36. This is an increase of around 10% from 2021. In addition, the maximum annual 2022 payroll contribution increased to $423.71. Employers should ensure they have adjusted their payroll contributions accordingly. (Updates reference: JD Supra) Seek legal counsel for NY Paid Family Leaves As an employer, even though you’re busy with every day business matters, staying up-to-date with legal changes is vital. An experienced lawyer can help you to stay apprised of compliance issues. If you have questions or concerns, consult...

New York Employers: 2022 Legal Updates

Some legal guidelines for employers in NY for 2022 New York employers should be aware of 2022 legal updates to stay in compliance with laws that affect their workplaces. The following are a few recent updates that apply statewide. State Legal Updates for New York Employers Wage Increases As of December 31, 2021 minimum wages throughout NY State increased to $13.20/hour. In Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties they rose to $15.00/hour. These counties now match the NYC minimum wage that has been in effect since 2019. Minimum salary amounts also rose outside of New York City. In Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, exempt employees’ salaries increased to $1,125/week, totaling $58,500/year. Throughout the rest of New York State, minimum salaries are now $990/week or $51,480/year. COVID-19 Vaccination Leaves COVID-19 vaccination leaves continue throughout the year of 2022. Employees have up to four hours of paid leave for vaccinations and booster shots. State Sick Leave Under recent legal laws, NY employees can use sick leaves for: Mental or physical illness Injuries Health conditions (regardless of whether it has been diagnosed or requires medical care) Side effects from COVID-19 vaccination Unpaid sick leaves apply to businesses with four or fewer employees and net incomes of $1 million or less. They must allow 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year. Paid sick leave applies to employers with four or fewer employees and net incomes greater than $1 million. It also applies to employers with five to 99 employees. Business owners must pay up to 40 hours of paid sick leave. Employers with 100 or more employees must pay for sick leave...

NY Hero Act: Workplace Safety Committees

What employers should know about NY safety committees We discussed the NY Hero Act in our August blog regarding plans for businesses. The second section of the act regarding safety committees went into effect in November 2021. It allowed businesses with 10 or more employees to establish safety committees. Do safety committees apply to your business? When determining whether the safety committees part of the NY Hero Act applies to your business, the first step is knowing how to count your number of employees. A National Law Review article provides an explanation. For the 10-employee threshold, employers must count employees that are: Part-time Newly hired Temporary Seasonal employees On paid or unpaid leave Under disciplinary suspension Under temporary leaves but expected to return to active employment What is the purpose forming safety committees? Safety committees would address employees’ concerns about safety and health issues in the workplace. The Hero Act does not require lawyers to establish safety committees. However, if employees request a safety committee (even if they are non-unionized), New York employers with 10 or more employees must allow it. How are committees formed? The ratio of supervisors to employees on a committee must be 1:2. For example, a company of 10 employees would have a committee comprised of one supervisor and two employees. Larger companies can have up to 12 committee members and the supervisor to employees ratio must remain 1:2. What obligations do employers have to the committees? Employers must respond in writing within a reasonable amount of time to safety and health issues raised by the committee (hazards, complaints and workplace violations) If the committee...

New York Law Requiring Electronic Monitoring Transparency in the Workplace

Employers’ responsibility to inform employees about electronic monitoring New York has a new law that affects electronic monitoring transparency in the workplace. NY Governor Hochul signed the law on November 8, 2021. It goes into effect on May 7, 2022. The new electronic transparency law requires that employers give written notice to employees about electronic monitoring before engaging in it. Electronic monitoring could be done via telephone, email or through internet access or usage. Who does the law affect? It affects all New York employers, who monitor or intercept employee’s email, telephone and internet usage or access. In addition, it applies to companies of all sizes. What is the notification requirement? When employer hires an employee, they must give notification about electronic monitoring. Also, the notice must be in writing. Employers must have their employees acknowledge in writing that they received the notification. Additionally, employers must post the notification in an obviously visible location. What must the notice say? The notice must convey the message that electronic monitoring includes: All telephone conversations or transmissions Electronic mail or transmissions Internet access or usage by any electronic device or system (computer, telephone, wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical systems) What are the potential penalties for non-compliance? Employers violating the law could receive fines of $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second offense, and $3,000 for third and each additional offense. Seek legal counsel for issues concerning electronic monitoring transparency in the workplace The New York legislature frequently passes new laws. As an employer, it is vital to stay up-to-date. An experienced lawyer can help you to stay apprised of...

Whistleblower Retaliation: Employee Protection in New York

More expansive definitions in the new amendments The Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, signed whistleblower legislation that offers employees greater protection against retaliation. Once in effect, the protection will extend to private sector employees, who report illegal or dangerous work-related activities. The amended law takes effect on January 26,2022. Changes in the new law Covered under the legislation, the definition of employees includes former employees. For example, a former employee subjected to retaliation during post-employment would now have recourse. A more expansive definition of retaliation encompasses actions or threats adversely affecting a former employee’s current or future employment. In addition, the new amendments also apply to contractors. The law also provides protection against an employer contacting or threatening to contact immigration authorities. Furthermore, the new amendment extends the statute of limitations to two years. Another major change is that the burden of proof for employees is not as high. They only have to prove that they had a reasonable belief that violations existed that presented a substantial and specific danger. Previously, they had to prove the existence of an actual violation. The purpose of the amendments are so employees can speak out against illegal or dangerous business practices without fearing retaliation. What does the new law mean for employers? According to JD Supra, employers must update policies, handbooks and postings to reflect the new requirements. In some circumstances, employees no longer have to notify employers as per prior requirements. Also, action under the Whistleblower Law would enable increased penalties and damages for violations. Do you have concerns or questions about employees taking whistleblower actions against your business? If...