NYC Mandatory IRA Retirement Coverage

NYC Is Requiring Retirement Plans for Most Employees A NYC Mandatory IRA Retirement Coverage is now law for certain employees of private businesses. The businesses affected by the law are ones in NYC that do not offer employees a retirement plan. The law also applies to businesses with five or more employees. What Are the Details of the Required Retirement Plan? Mandatory auto-enrollment exists for employees. The mandatory retirement plans do not require employers to make contributions. However, the plans require them to enroll employees who work at least 20 hours/week and are age 21 or older in a plan. Moreover, the default rate for employee contribution is five percent. Even so, employees can adjust the rate up or down. They can also opt-out of the plan if they wish. The cap on IRA contributions is the same as the yearly federal IRA maximum. The maximum is currently $6,000 or $7,000 for individuals 50 or older. If the employee changes jobs, the IRA is portable, and they keep their accounts. They can also roll over the IRA to the employer’s plan, if eligible. When Does Compliance Start? The New York City Council enacted the law on May 11. Employers must begin complying with the law three months from that date. How Does NYC Enforce Compliance? The law established a retirement savings board to oversee the program. The Mayor has the authority to appoint three members. Their powers include: Determining the start of the program Contracting with financial institutions and administrators Minimizing fees and costs for the program’s administration Creating a process for those employees to participate who are not...

Expanded Criminal Background Check Rules

Guidelines When Using Criminal Background Checks Criminal background check rules for employers are more extensive now. New amendments for the New York City’s Fair Chance Act (FACA) went into effect on July 29, 2021. What Changed? The law about conducting criminal background checks previously only applied to job applicants who had received a conditional job offer. However, the new amendments also provide protections for employees against adverse employment actions. An example would be terminating the employee based on a pending arrest or criminal charge. Before doing so, employer must first evaluate the “relevant fair chance factors.” The relevant fair chance factors include: New York’s public policy of providing work for individuals with prior criminal offenses Considering the specific duties and responsibility of the job Whether the criminal offense or alleged criminal offense would affect the individual’s ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of the job How much time elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal act The age of the person at the time of the criminal offense occurred The seriousness of the offense Information as to the individual’s rehabilitation and good conduct The employer’s legitimate interest in protecting property and the safety and welfare of the specific individuals and general public Situations Where Employers Must Not Inquire About Prior Criminal History It is vital for employers to know they must never inquire about an employee’s criminal history regarding situations that involve the following: Non-convictions (including arrests that were not prosecuted, acquittals, dismissed charges, expunged cases and vacated convictions) Cases adjourned in contemplation of dismissal Youthful offender cases Violations (such as disorderly conduct) Non-criminal offenses (with the exception...

How the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Affects COBRA

Employer Responsibility Regarding Cobra The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 affects COBRA significantly, which is something many employers need to know. Under this act, the Department of Labor (DOL) published guidance for continued COBRA coverage. In fact, employers must provide 100% of the employee’s COBRA cost from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. What Is COBRA? COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. COBRA is a temporary insurance premium for employees that have been terminated, laid off or with reduced work hours. COBRA rules are under ERISA (Employment Retirement Income Security Act) or state and local laws that require continuation of health insurance. Private sector companies providing group health plans must offer COBRA coverage when the company terminates or reduces the hours of an employee. It does not apply to employees who voluntarily quit the job or who voluntarily reduce their own hours. Also, it does not cover workers who are already covered by Medicare or a different health plan offered by a spouse’s employer or new employer. Under normal circumstances, when employers offer COBRA, they can require the worker to pay the full cost of coverage and administrative cost, totaling 102%. Notices the Employer Must Provide Based on the American Rescue Act Employers with group health plans and group health providers must issue the following: General notification to all qualified beneficiaries who experienced involuntary termination or hours reduction between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021 Notification of the extended COBRA to any worker eligible for assistance from April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021 Notice of expiration of periods and premium assistance between 15...

How Frequently Must You Pay Your Employees?

Frequency of Pay Under New York Law Frequency of pay refers to whether you pay your employees weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. New York Labor Law determines how frequently employees in different work classifications must receive pay. If you do not abide by the law, your employee has the legal right to sue you for damages. A recent case involved an employer who failed to consistently pay an employee. According to the New York Law Journal, the Appellate Division affirmed the employee’s right to take legal action against the employer. If there were a number of untimely paid wages, the case could result in significant liability for the employer. What Frequency of Pay Guidelines Must NY Employers Follow? Based on NYLL §191, employers must pay employees in different work classifications as follows: Manual workers must receive pay weekly. They cannot receive pay later than seven calendar days after the end of the week the worker earned the wages. If you own a non-profit organization, payment would be according to employment agreement terms, but no less frequently than semi-monthly. Salespersons receive commissions based on contract agreements. However, employers must pay them at least once a month and no later than the last day of the month after the month when the wages were earned. Frequency of payment differs when sales commissions are substantial or if additional compensation such as extra or incentive earnings is owed. Under these circumstances, salespersons must receive pay less frequently than once a month. Clerks or other workers must receive pay based on their employment agreement. However, they also must not receive pay less frequently than semi-monthly....

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...