Right to Disconnect Bill in NYC

Should Employees Have the Right to Disconnect from Work After Hours? In 2017, a “Right to Disconnect” law passed in France, and a similar bill was introduced to the NYC Council last March. It is currently under consideration. Living in the Information Age where we are “plugged in” to our electronic devices and spend a lot of time responding to electronic communications poses new challenges. Many businesses use texts, emails, websites and various social media outlets for communication, marketing and as a means of doing business. Consequently, the line between work and private life has become somewhat blurred. What are employers’ rights? What are workers’ rights? Electronic communications are a new evolving area of law. Any time spent working on a job in addition to the standard 40 hours a week is subject to overtime pay for non-exempt employees. As with any area of emerging law, there are opposing views. As an employer, you must be aware of new laws that could affect how you run your business. What Terms and Conditions Does the NYC Right to Disconnect Bill Include? According to the National Law Review, NYC Council hearings have begun. The proposed law would require employers with 10 or more employees to do the following: Adopt written policy governing the use of electronic devices and other digital communications outside of work hours Establish the usual work hours schedule for each class of employee Establish the categories of paid time off available to employees Prohibit retaliation against employees who exercised or attempted to exercise their right to disconnect Remedies against violations would include the following fines: $250 for each...

Marijuana Legalization in New York

Governor Cuomo Is Supporting the Legalization of Marijuana Marijuana legalization for recreational use appears to be on the verge of becoming law in New York State. Medical marijuana has been legal since 2014, but what would legalization for recreational use mean for New York businesses? If the legislature passes the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, Governor Cuomo believes it could generate $300 million in revenue a year for New York. According to the Gothamist, the governor also sees marijuana legalization as an opportunity to create greater income for poor communities and individuals who have “paid the price” for marijuana prohibition. The legislature is expected to vote on legalizing marijuana on April 1, 2019, and if passed, marijuana could go on sale in April 2020. The new law would establish an Office of Cannabis Management, which would have oversight of recreational marijuana use for adults who are 21 and older along with overseeing hemp and medical marijuana. The office would be responsible for creating licensing procedures for growers, distributors and sellers. Currently the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union represents medical marijuana employees, and it appears that the recreational cannabis industry would also fall under its representation. Taxes that the law would generate include a 20 percent state tax and two percent local tax on sales from wholesalers to resellers. Taxation for growers would be by the gram. The law would give priority to minority and women-owned businesses for licenses to grow and sell cannabis. How Would the Legalization Potentially Affect Business Employers? Business owners already faced challenges that resulted from the legalization of medical marijuana. Even so, marijuana recreational...

FAQs About Lactation Break Law

What NY Employers Should Know New York City passed a law for lactation breaks that requires NYC employers to provide a private lactation room and a refrigerator where nursing mothers can store milk. The new law goes into effect on March 18, 2019. Prior to this New York City law, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 introduced a provision that required employers to allow nursing mothers to take a break for breast pumping. What businesses does the lactation break law apply to? According to the New York State Department of Labor, all public and private business in New York must provide break time so nursing mothers can pump breast milk at work. This law applies to all businesses regardless of the size or nature of the business. How long must employers provide a mother with lactation breaks? After the birth of the child, the mother can take breaks to pump breast milk for up to three years. How long is the lactation break? Employers must provide at least 20 minutes for each break. However, employees may take less time if they choose or may ask for more time if necessary. How often must the breaks occur? Employers must allow employees to take the break at least once every three hours. Employees can take these breaks immediately before or after meal breaks if they wish. For example, the employee could leave for the lactation break 20 minutes before or after the usual lunch break time. Must employers pay for lactation breaks? No. Employers do not have to pay nursing mothers for the break time. In addition, employees have the option...

Employers: What Questions Should You Avoid in a Job Interview? Illegal and Discriminatory Questions

Certain questions are taboo for employers to ask in a job interview. The most obvious ones are questions that could be regarded as discrimination. If you ask these types of questions, you could be held liable if a discrimination lawsuit is brought against you. Do not ask questions that intimate at anything to do with age, race, color, national origin or birthplace, religion, disability, genetic information, gender/sex or marital/family status/pregnancy. (EEOC) Examples of Questions to Avoid in Job Interviews It’s best to cross these types of questions or similar questions off your list and steer clear of them. Examples include: Are you biracial? Which church do you attend? What languages do you speak at home? Are you pregnant? Do you plan to have children within the next year? Do you have a disability? What medications are you currently taking? Have you filed any workers’ compensation claims? Have any of your close relatives had a heart attack or been diagnosed with a heart condition? Do mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression or schizophrenia run in your family? Have you had genetic tests to determine whether you are at risk for cancer? When do you plan to retire? How old are your children? What salary did you make at your last job? Salary Related Questions The New York City Council passed a law that went into effect in 2017 that prohibited employers from asking job candidates about their salary history, compensation history and other past benefits during job interviews. Similarly, Suffolk County, New York has recently passed a law (the RISE Act) prohibiting the same questions. This law goes...

How Does the New York State Overtime Salary Threshold Work?

2019 Is Here with New Salary Thresholds The New York State overtime salary threshold draws the line between exempt salaried workers, who must be paid for overtime, and those non-exempt workers, who do not have to be paid for overtime. For an employee to qualify for the Administrative employee exemption, the following tests must be met, according to NY State Labor Laws: The employee primarily has the duty of performing office or non-manual fieldwork that relate directly to management policies or general operations. The employee exercises discretion and independent judgment customarily and on a regular basis. The employee regularly and directly assists the employer. Or, the employee works in an executive or administrative capacity or performs under general supervision work that is specialized, technical or requires special training, knowledge or experience. The employer pays the employee on a salary basis. Any exempt employee working over 40 hours a week and receiving less than a certain monetary number in salary must be paid for overtime work. However, based on location and year, the salary threshold number varies. Employees receiving the salary threshold amount or a lower salary must be paid for overtime work. The following are the salary thresholds for NYC, other areas and remaining areas statewide: New York City Salaries After December 31, 2018 $1,1012.50 per week After December 31, 2019 $1,125.00 per week Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties Salaries After December 31, 2018 $900 per week After December 31, 2019 $975 per week After December 31, 2020 $1050 per week After December 31, 2021 $1,125 per week The Remainder of New York State After December 31, 2018 $832...