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Current Legislation in New York

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AB 262 - Includes Bonus In the Definition of Wages For Purposes of the Labor Law

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure includes bonus in the definition of wages for purposes of the labor law when the formula under which a bonus is determined is available to the employer or when the amount of a bonus has been declared.
This measure states that all wages, including bonuses, shall be non-forfeitable once the amount of the wage is known or can with reasonable certainty be known.
Bonus constitutes wages regardless of the source of revenue when:
  • (a) The formula under which a bonus is determined is certain and all the data utilized in calculating the amount of a bonus under the formula is available to the employer; or
  • (b) When the amount of a bonus has been declared by the employer.

 

Additional Information: 

According to the sponsor: The Court of Appeals has held that bonus compensation is wages only if it is akin to commissions. This is unrealistic for many employees and contrary to the law in other States. Many employees who are not in sales have their bonus determined according to a formula based on firm profit. For example, there is no reason why stock brokers' bonuses should receive protection as wages but the same not be true for the bonuses of stock analysts or any other employees who receive bonuses based on a favorable evaluation of their performance rather than based on specific sales.

AB 390 - An act to amend the general obligations law, in relation to declaring agreements exempting employers from liability for negligence related to the COVID-19 pandemic void and unenforceable

Issue: COVID-19 Liability Protection

This measure declares agreements exempting employers from liability for negligence related to the COVID-19 pandemic void and unenforceable.

This measure exempts employers from liability for negligence related to the COVID-19 pandemic void and unenforceable. Any provision in any contract, agreement or understanding relating to the employment, hiring or retaining of the services of any person, including but not limited to employees, independent contractors and interns, that exempts the employer or hiring party from liability for damages for personal injury or death caused by or resulting from the employer's negligence in connection with the employer's or hiring party's handling of measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic shall be deemed to be void as against public policy and wholly unenforceable.

This measure will not preclude an employer or hiring party from requiring indemnification for damages arising out of personal injury or death caused by or resulting from the negligence of a party other than the employee, independent contractor and intern, whether or not the employer or hiring party is partially negligent.

AB 450 - An act to amend the labor law, in relation to employee work schedules

Issue: Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure establishes an employee’s rights to know his/her work schedule and work hours with advance notice.

This measure requires employers of retail, food service or cleaning employees to give such employees 7 days notice of their work schedule and a months notice of the minimum hours of work. This measure also creates a private right of action to employees who are aggrieved by certain violations of such provisions, including interfering with, restraining or denying the exercise of any rights provided to any employee by the provisions.

AB 461 - An act to amend the labor law, in relation to providing more predictable and stable schedules for employees in low-wage occupations

Issue: Minimum Wage, Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure amends the labor law, in relation to providing more predictable and stable schedules for employees in low-wage occupations. It's purpose is to provide employees in low-wage occupations with predictable and stable schedules that support workplace flexibility.

An employer who operates thirty or more establishments nationwide shall pay an employee for at least four hours at the basic minimum hourly wage for each day on which the employee reports for work but is given fewer than four hours of work.

In addition, the employer shall pay an employee for at least four hours at the basic minimum wage for each day the employee was given specific instructions o contact the employer, or wait to be contacted by the employer, less than twenty-four hours in advance of the start of the potential work shift to determine whether the employee must report to work for such shift.

AB 761 - An act to amend the labor law, in relation to establishing an essential workers' bill of rights

Issue: COVID-19 Liability Protection

This measure would ensure rights, protection and hazard pay for essential workers during a state of emergency. It defines "essential workers" and requires that during a state of emergency, employers of essential workers must implement the essential workers' bill of rights including the following:

(i) Employers must provide adequate personal protective equipment and products at no cost to the workers;

(ii) Employers must inform essential workers when an employee has contracted a disease related to such state disaster emergency and of a worker's potential exposure to disease;

(iii) Employers may not retaliate or discriminate against an essential worker for reporting any unsafe work environment

This measure provides that during a state disaster emergency, all employers of essential workers shall adopt and implement the following essential workers' bill of rights which shall be distributed to essential workers, made available on each employer's website, and shall include links or information to file a report and seek a response from such employer or the state regarding any unsafe work environment or failure to meet the requirements of this section:

(a) all employers shall provide essential workers with adequate personal protective equipment and products at no cost to such workers, including but not limited to hand sanitizer, medical or surgical masks, medical or surgical gloves, disposable gowns and any other equipment or product identified in emergency regulations promulgated by the commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of health;

(b) all employers shall inform essential workers when an employee has contracted a disease related to such state disaster emergency and of a worker's potential exposure to disease; and

(c) no employer shall retaliate or discriminate against an essential worker for reporting any unsafe work environment.

The measure directs the Labor Commissioner to direct employers who meet the requirements of this subdivision to make hazard payments to essential workers during a state disaster emergency. The payments will be a percentage or a fixed dollar amount, as prescribed by the commissioner. No hazard payment will exceed twenty-five thousand dollars in any year for any essential worker earning less than two hundred thousand dollars per year or five thousand dollars for any essential worker earning more than two hundred thousand dollars. Hazard payments will be in addition to and not be part of an essential worker's basic annual salary, and will not affect any performance advancement payments, performance awards, longevity payments or other rights or benefits to which an essential worker may be entitled. A hazard payment shall be terminated upon the cessation of the state disaster emergency.

"Essential worker" means any employee of a business or entity providing essential services or functions during any state disaster emergency declared pursuant to article two-B of the executive law and designated as an essential worker pursuant to any law, rule, regulation or executive order including but not limited to essential health care operations including research and laboratory services; essential infrastructure including utilities, telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure; essential manufacturing, including food processing and pharmaceuticals; essential retail including grocery stores and pharmacies; essential services including trash collection, mail, and shipping services; news media; banks and related financial institutions; providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations; construction; vendors of essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses; vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public.

AB 1439 - AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to regulating
the use of unmanned aircraft in the state

Issue: Drones

This measure amends the Vehicle and Traffic law, adding a new section governing the use of unmanned aircraft.

Flights of unmanned aircraft over the lands and waters of the state are lawful if a person operates the unmanned aircraft pursuant to federal laws and regulations.

A person operating an unmanned aircraft:

  • (A) May not interfere with manned aircraft and must always give the right of way to manned aircraft;
  • (B) May not intentionally do so in a manner that is imminently dangerous to persons or property on the lands or waters;
  • (C) May not intentionally do so in a manner that constitutes a frequent, repetitive, substantial, and unreasonable nuisance;
  • (D) May not do so without first complying with applicable requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA);
  • (E) May not do so in violation of FAA flight restrictions;
  • (F) May not intentionally do so in a manner that unreasonably interferes with a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, or search and rescue personnel;
  • (G) May not intentionally do so in a manner that subjects an individual to harassment; and
  • (H) May not intentionally do so within a distance that, if the person were to do so personally rather than through remote operation of an unmanned aircraft, would be a violation of a restraining order or other judicial order.

The measure would take effect upon its enactment.

AB 2046 - AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to imposing strict liability on manufacturers, owners, and operators of unmanned motor vehicles

Issue: Drones

This measure relates to the liability of death caused by unmanned vehicles.

This measure holds manufacturers, owners and operators of unmanned motor vehicles, including unmanned aircraft systems (commonly known as drones), strictly responsible for death or injuries sustained to a person or property as a result of the use or operation of such vehicle in the State.

AB 2244 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to providing for minimum wage requirements for miscellaneous industry workers

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure eliminates the sub-minimum wage for food service workers, service employees, and miscellaneous industry workers who receive tips.

This measure sets a schedule on which cash wages for food service workers, service employees, and miscellaneous industry workers will increase until that wage is equivalent to the minimum wage.

In the City of New York, the cash wage for food service employees receiving tips will be as follows:

  1. $9.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2021;
  2. $10.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2022;
  3. $12.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2023;
  4. $13.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2024;
  5. $15.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2025;

Beginning on December 31, 2025 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

In Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties the cash wage for food service employees receiving tips will be as follows:

  1. $8.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2021;
  2. $9.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2022;
  3. $11.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2023;
  4. $13.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2024;
  5. $15.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2025;

Beginning on December 31, 2025 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

In all other counties, the cash wage for food service employees receiving tips will be as follows:

  1. $8.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2021;
  2. $9.25 per hour on or after December 31, 2022;
  3. $10.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2023;
  4. $11.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2024;
  5. $12.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2025;

Beginning on December 31, 2025 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

For miscellaneous industry workers receiving tips pursuant to 12 NYCRR part 142 working in the City of New York must not be less than:

  • A. $13.15 or $13.85 per hour for high tip and low tip employees, respectively on or after June 30, 2020;
  • B. $15.00 per hour for both high tip and low tip employees, on or after December 31, 2020.

Beginning on December 31, 2022 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

For miscellaneous industry workers receiving tips pursuant to 12 NYCRR part 142 working in the Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties must not be less than:

  1. $11.40 or $12.00 per hour for high tip and low tip employees, respectively on or after June 30, 2020;
  2. $14.00 per hour for both high tip and low tips employees, on or after December 31, 2020.

Beginning on December 31, 2022 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

For miscellaneous industry workers receiving tips pursuant to 12 NYCRR part 142 working In all other counties must not be less than:

  1. $10.35 or $10.90 per hour for high tip and low tip employees, respectively on or after June 30, 2020;
  2. $12.50 per hour for both high tip and low tips employees, on or after December 31, 2020.

Beginning on December 31, 2022 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

"Miscellaneous industry worker" means any employee covered by the minimum wage order for miscellaneous industries and occupations pursuant to the provisions of 12 NYCRR part 142, including, but not limited to, car wash attendants, nail salon workers, tow truck drivers, dog groomers, wedding planners, tour guides, valet parking attendants, hairdressers, aestheticians, golf and tennis instructors, and door-persons.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "For many years, employers of food service employees have been provided with a credit that reduces the hourly minimum wage paid to employees receiving gratuities. These employers now pay $7.50 per hour to workers, so long as workers receive on average the difference between their reduced minimum wage and the statutory minimum wage in tips. Allowing for the tip credit has created many inequities in food service work. Employees who are not made whole by gratuities face arduous legal processes to recover their owed wages, involving complicated record- keeping and inadequate legal remedies. Reliance on tips has also created an environment where workers are victimized, and in some cases, encouraged to turn a blind eye, to rampant discrimination and sexual harassment by clientele and managers. This results in annual restaurant employee sexual harassment claims to the EEOC at five times the rate of other industries.

Eight states (Alaska, California, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) have eliminated the tipped credit and required employers to pay the full minimum wage to employees. Those states have seen growth in the restaurant industry and a more equitable and experienced workforce. New York's two-tiered wage system presents challenges for employers as well as workers. Unlike many other laws, wage and hour laws put the onus on employers to keep accurate records and follow the law, which take up large amounts of time and money in monitoring compliance. Maintaining the necessary records and compliance of a two-tiered wage system exposes employers to additional liability. In short, it is time for New York to join other states and improve the working conditions in the restaurant industry by eliminating the sub-minimum wage. Employers would not be prohibited from allowing for restaurant gratuities, but gratuities would no longer make up the difference between wages received from the restaurant and the actual minimum wage. Providing equity and fairness to restaurant workers would help reduce the wage gap and bring New York in line with many of its sister states in workers' rights and fairness on the job. This bill puts tipped workers in food service on a path to receive the full minimum wage by 2025. Additionally, the bill codifies wage increases ordered by Governor Cuomo for miscellaneous workers, such as nail salon workers, hairdressers, car wash workers, etc. The bill will eliminate the subminimum wage for those industries by December 31, 2020. The bill also updates New York law in light of recent changes in federal Department of Labor regulations on tip sharing. These changes now allow tip sharing between all employees, including those who work in "back of house" roles, such as cooks and dishwashers, and those who do not receive tips. However, this practice is currently barred under New York State law. This bill will allow tip sharing among all employees to ensure greater equity in wage earning between front and back of house employees." This measure is a refile of AB 11086 from the 2019-20 legislative session. That measure did not receive committee consideration.

AB 2589 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to flexible working arrangements

Issue: Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure allows employees to submit requests for flexible working arrangements to their employers. "Flexible working arrangement" means a intermediate or long-term changes in the employee's regular working arrangements, including but not limited to, changes in the number of days or hours worked, changes in the time the employee arrives at or departs from work, work from home, or job-sharing. It does not include vacation, routine scheduling of shifts, or another form of employee leave.

AB 3053 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to split shifts and minimum wage

Issue: Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure relates to minimum wage payments during split shifts.

The measure provides for the payment of the minimum wage for all time past one hour in which an employee is working a split shift.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "A split shift is a situation where an employee works a certain number of hours separated by a long break and then must return later in the day to complete his or her work day. It is unreasonable to keep the employee under the employer's control without pay for periods of time in excess of one hour. The Department of Labor has interpreted the minimum wage law so that all hours worked are averaged and if the result is over the minimum wage, then lack of pay for 3 hours between the split shift, for example, would not be compensated. The bill corrects that unreasonable interpretation of law."

AB 3103 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to the minimum wage for employees with disabilities

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure relates to the minimum wage for employees with disabilities.

This measure removes the exemption in the definition of employee for people impaired by physical or mental deficiency or injury and prohibits an employer from paying to any employee a wage that is less than the minimum wage on the basis that the employee has an actual or perceived disability.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 made it illegal for the first time for employers to discriminate against workers with disabilities. Although this was a significant win for the disability community there are still many instances of unequal access and treatment of Americans with disabilities. Currently, many disability providers employ people at "workshops" that pay far below the minimum wage. This bill seeks to follow the lead of Alaska, Maryland and New Hampshire that have prohibited this practice, as well as end the practice of paying less than the minimum wage to employees because of their age."

AB 3158 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to the schedules that work act

Issue: Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure allows an employee to request a change in work conditions and requires the employer to pay an employee for hours assigned but not worked.

This measure states that an employee may request a change in their terms and conditions of employment as it relates to the number of hours the employee is required to work or be on call for work, the times when the employee is required to work or be on call for work, the location where the employee is required to work, the amount of notification the employee receives of work schedule assignments, and minimizing fluctuations in the number of hours the employee is scheduled to work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
The employer may deny this request for any reason that is lawful unless the employee makes the request due to a serious health condition of the employee, the employee's responsibilities as a caregiver, the employee's enrollment in a career-related educational or training program, or if a part-time employee makes a request for such a change for a reason related to a second job, in which case they may only deny the request for a bona fide business reason.

This measure states that an employer must pay a retail, food service, or cleaning employee:

  • (a) for at least four hours at the regular rate of pay of the employee involved for each day the employee reports for work, as required by the employer, but is given less than four hours of work, except that if the employee's scheduled hours for a day are less than four hours
  • (b) for at least one hour at the regular rate of pay of the employee involved for each day the employee is given specific instructions to contact the employer, or wait to be contacted by the employer, less than twenty-four hours in advance of the start of a potential work shift to determine whether the employee must report to work for such shift.

An employer shall pay a retail, food service, or cleaning employee for one additional hour at the employee's regular rate of pay for each day during which the employee works a split shift. On or before a new retail, food service, or cleaning employee's first day of work, the employer shall inform the employee in writing of the work schedule of the employee involved and the minimum number of expected work hours the employee will be assigned to work per month.

"Bona fide business reason" means the identifiable burden of additional costs to an employer, including the cost of productivity loss, retraining or hiring employees, or transferring employees from one facility to another facility; a significant detrimental effect on the employer's ability to meet organizational needs or customer demand; a significant inability of the employer, despite best efforts, to reorganize work among existing staff; a significant detrimental effect on business performance; insufficiency of work during the periods an employee proposes to work; and the need to balance competing scheduling requests when it is not possible to grant all such requests without a significant detrimental effect on the employer's ability to meet organizational needs.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "This bill would protect hourly worker in the fields of retail, food service or cleaning, who often find themselves laden with unpredictable schedules and irregular hours. Industries that employ hourly workers are some of the fastest growing and lowest paying. Allowing workers a more stable schedule enables them to plan for essential responsibilities including child care and transportation. It is not uncommon for an hourly worker to be sent home early, before their scheduled shift ends or for the number of expected work hours or specific days to change with little or no notice. This can be crippling for working families. This bill would ensure that workers who get sent home early for under four hours of work are compensated fairly up to four hours and it would require some compensation to the employee for being "on call" if it is within 24 hours of the shift in question. This bill would promote more communication between employee and employer regarding expectations for work and require the employer to give more reasonable notice to the employee of changes in their work schedule. A more predictable schedule would result in a more focused employee who has been ensured their responsibilities outside of work have been taken care of. Additionally, giving hourly employees a voice at work would likely decrease worker turnover rates. In this way, this bill would benefit both the employee and the employer."

AB 3845 - AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to minimum wage reimbursement credit

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure establishes the minimum wage tax rate.

This measure states that for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021 and before January 1, 2024, the amount of the minimum wage tax credit is equal to the product of the total number of hours during the taxable year worked by eligible employees for which they were paid at a rate that does not exceed the minimum wage plus fifty cents.

An eligible employee is an individual who is employed in New York state, paid at a rate that does not exceed the minimum wage plus fifty-cents, is between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, and is a student.

AB 4102 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to limiting the civil liability of employers and employees for the spread or possible transmission of COVID-19 caused by an act or omission while acting in good faith

Issue: COVID-19 Liability Protection

This measure relates to limiting the civil liability of employers and employees for the spread or possible transmission of COVID-19 caused by an act or omission while acting in good faith.

This measure amends the labor law to establish definitions and provides that no individual, business trust, legal representative, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, joint stock company, university, school, not-for-profit, religious organization, or any organized group of such entities shall be liable in any civil action for the spread or possible transmission of COVID-19 caused by an act or omission of such person acting in good faith in the workplace.

Definitions include:

  • a) "Covered entity" shall mean one or more individuals, business trusts, legal representatives, corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, joint-stock companies, universities, schools, not-for-profit organizations, religious organizations or any organized group of such entities.
  • b) "Good faith" shall mean making reasonable efforts to act in compliance with (i) applicable guidance from a federal, state, local, territorial or tribal public health authority; or (ii) appropriate professional or industry standards, recommendations, or guidance.
  • c) "Serious bodily injury" shall mean (i) death or injury requiring inpatient hospitalization of at least forty-eight hours; (ii) permanent impairment of a bodily function; or (iii) permanent damage to a body structure.

AB 4476 - AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to prohibiting
discrimination in recreational water parks due to religious attire

Issue: 

This measure regards religious discrimination at recreational water parks.

The measure provides that religious discrimination will be prohibited at recreational water parks, beaches, lakes, pools, and other water facilities, by any person, agency, bureau, corporation or association, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee, and shall require any person to violate or forgo a sincerely held practice of his or her religion, including the wearing of any attire, clothing, including modesty swimsuits or full-body swimsuits or facial hair in accordance with the requirement or his or her religion.

AB 4829 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to establishing a training wage

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure establishes a training wage.

This measure establishes a training wage equal to eighty-five percent of the state minimum wage or one hundred percent of the federal minimum wage, whichever is greater, that may be paid to a youth who has no prior job experience. No youth may be paid a training wage for more than one hundred eighty days.

SB 468 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to employee work schedules

Issue: Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure establishes an employee’s rights to know his/her work schedule and work hours with advance notice.

This measure requires employers of retail, food service or cleaning employees to give such employees 7 days notice of their work schedule and a months notice of the minimum hours of work. This measure also creates a private right of action to employees who are aggrieved by certain violations of such provisions, including interfering with, restraining or denying the exercise of any rights provided to any employee by the provisions.

SB 640 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to establishing an essential workers' bill of rights

Issue: COVID-19 Liability Protection

This measure would ensure rights, protection and hazard pay for essential workers during a state of emergency. It defines "essential workers" and requires that during a state of emergency, employers of essential workers must implement the essential workers' bill of rights including the following:

(i) Employers must provide adequate personal protective equipment and products at no cost to the workers;

(ii) Employers must inform essential workers when an employee has contracted a disease related to such state disaster emergency and of a worker's potential exposure to disease;

(iii) Employers may not retaliate or discriminate against an essential worker for reporting any unsafe work environment

This measure provides that during a state disaster emergency, all employers of essential workers shall adopt and implement the following essential workers' bill of rights which shall be distributed to essential workers, made available on each employer's website, and shall include links or information to file a report and seek a response from such employer or the state regarding any unsafe work environment or failure to meet the requirements of this section:

(a) all employers shall provide essential workers with adequate personal protective equipment and products at no cost to such workers, including but not limited to hand sanitizer, medical or surgical masks, medical or surgical gloves, disposable gowns and any other equipment or product identified in emergency regulations promulgated by the commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of health;

(b) all employers shall inform essential workers when an employee has contracted a disease related to such state disaster emergency and of a worker's potential exposure to disease; and

(c) no employer shall retaliate or discriminate against an essential worker for reporting any unsafe work environment.

The measure directs the Labor Commissioner to direct employers who meet the requirements of this subdivision to make hazard payments to essential workers during a state disaster emergency. The payments will be a percentage or a fixed dollar amount, as prescribed by the commissioner. No hazard payment will exceed twenty-five thousand dollars in any year for any essential worker earning less than two hundred thousand dollars per year or five thousand dollars for any essential worker earning more than two hundred thousand dollars. Hazard payments will be in addition to and not be part of an essential worker's basic annual salary, and will not affect any performance advancement payments, performance awards, longevity payments or other rights or benefits to which an essential worker may be entitled. A hazard payment shall be terminated upon the cessation of the state disaster emergency.

"Essential worker" means any employee of a business or entity providing essential services or functions during any state disaster emergency declared pursuant to article two-B of the executive law and designated as an essential worker pursuant to any law, rule, regulation or executive order including but not limited to essential health care operations including research and laboratory services; essential infrastructure including utilities, telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure; essential manufacturing, including food processing and pharmaceuticals; essential retail including grocery stores and pharmacies; essential services including trash collection, mail, and shipping services; news media; banks and related financial institutions; providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations; construction; vendors of essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses; vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "During an unprecedented pandemic or state of emergency, many essential workers continue to go to work exposing themselves to high-risk conditions without appropriate protective equipment, adequate safety standards, proper health care and childcare or basic job protections. This leaves them susceptible to contracting contagions and other dangers at a higher rate than the general public.
For example, during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) received more than 3,000 worker complaints regarding the coronavirus between January 2020 and April 2020 outlining the fear and danger essential workers faced on a daily basis. Complaints highlighted the lack of personal protective equipment, the lack of transparency regarding coworkers testing positive for the virus, and inadequate pay. To date, there have been patchwork suggestions issued at the federal state and local levels, but no widespread regulations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of essential workers. This legislation would require employers of essential workers as defined by the Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 202.6 of 2020 to implement an essential workers' bill of rights that: -Would ensure workers have adequate personal protective equipment -Would mandate that employers inform workers when an employee has contracted a disease related to the state of emergency and of a worker's potential exposure to disease; -Would prevent employers from retaliating or discriminating against an essential worker for reporting any unsafe work environment; -Would require that employers cover the costs of any child care or health care needed by essential workers during the duration of the state of emergency. -Certain large employers would also be required to pay essential workers a payment that is a percentage or a fixed dollar amount, set by the Labor Commissioner. The benefit would be capped at $25,000 for workers earning less than $200,000 per year and at $5,000 for those earning more than $200,000. Small businesses, manufacturers, and nonprofits would be exempt from this requirement.

SB 765 - AN ACT directing a study on the impact of increased minimum wage on eligibility for income-based services, programs and subsidies and the impact of loss of services on the working poor

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure directs a study on the impact of increased minimum wage on eligibility for income-based services, programs and subsidies.

This measure requires a study to be performed and a report to be produced on the effects of increased minimum wage on the working poor's eligibility for critical and relied upon social services, programs and subsidies. The commissioners must publish such report to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the senate, and the minority leader of the assembly.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: It is the State's responsibility to protect and to ensure that working class New Yorkers are not harmed by legislative action. Furthermore, in a time when the State of New York is tackling the issues of poverty and of a living wage for the working class, it is essential to make sure that any extrinsic services, programs and subsidies related to or involved with the State are carefully examined to not negate the purposes of raising the minimum wage. New York is a State focused on prosperity for all and the study and report required by this bill - will advance that ideal by making sure that the State is helping families more than hindering their financial and personal growth.

SB 808 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to providing for minimum wage requirements for miscellaneous industry workers

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure would eliminate the sub-minimum wage for food service workers, service employees, and miscellaneous industry workers who receive tips.

Specifically, the measure would set a schedule on which cash wages for food service workers, service employees, and miscellaneous industry workers will increase until that wage is equivalent to the minimum wage.

In the City of New York, the cash wage for food service employees receiving tips will be as follows:

  1. $9.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2021;
  2. $10.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2022;
  3. $12.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2023;
  4. $13.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2024;
  5. $15.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2025;

Beginning on December 31, 2025 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

In Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties the cash wage for food service employees receiving tips will be as follows:

  1. $8.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2021;
  2. $9.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2022;
  3. $11.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2023;
  4. $13.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2024;
  5. $15.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2025;

Beginning on December 31, 2025 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

In all other counties the cash wage for food service employees receiving tips will be as follows:

  1. $8.00 per hour on or after December 31, 2021;
  2. $9.25 per hour on or after December 31, 2022;
  3. $10.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2023;
  4. $11.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2024;
  5. $12.50 per hour on or after December 31, 2025;

Beginning on December 31, 2025 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

For miscellaneous industry workers receiving tips pursuant to 12 NYCRR part 142 working in the City of New York must not be less than:

A. $13.15 or $13.85 per hour for high tip and low tip employees, respectively on or after June 30, 2020;

B. $15.00 per hour for both high tip and low tip employees, on or after December 31, 2020.

Beginning on December 31, 2022 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

For miscellaneous industry workers receiving tips pursuant to 12 NYCRR part 142 working in the Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties must not be less than:

  1. $11.40 or $12.00 per hour for high tip and low tip employees, respectively on or after June 30, 2020;
  2. $14.00 per hour for both high tip and low tips employees, on or after December 31, 2020.

Beginning on December 31, 2022 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

For miscellaneous industry workers receiving tips pursuant to 12 NYCRR part 142 working In all other counties must not be less than:

  1. $10.35 or $10.90 per hour for high tip and low tip employees, respectively on or after June 30, 2020;
  2. $12.50 per hour for both high tip and low tips employees, on or after December 31, 2020.

Beginning on December 31, 2022 the cash wage cannot be less than the minimum wage.

"Miscellaneous industry worker" means any employee covered by the minimum wage order for miscellaneous industries and occupations pursuant to the provisions of 12 NYCRR part 142, including, but not limited to, car wash attendants, nail salon workers, tow truck drivers, dog groomers, wedding planners, tour guides, valet parking attendants, hairdressers, aestheticians, golf and tennis instructors, and door-persons.

SB 1214 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to the schedules that work act

Issue: Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure allows an employee to request a change in work conditions and requires the employer to pay an employee for hours assigned but not worked.

This measure states that an employee may request a change in their terms and conditions of employment as it relates to the number of hours the employee is required to work or be on call for work, the times when the employee is required to work or be on call for work, the location where the employee is required to work, the amount of notification the employee receives of work schedule assignments, and minimizing fluctuations in the number of hours the employee is scheduled to work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The employer may deny this request for any reason that is lawful unless the employee makes the request due to a serious health condition of the employee, the employee's responsibilities as a caregiver, the employee's enrollment in a career-related educational or training program, or if a part-time employee makes a request for such a change for a reason related to a second job, in which case they may only deny the request for a bona fide business reason.

This measure states that an employer must pay a retail, food service, or cleaning employee:

(a) for at least four hours at the regular rate of pay of the employee involved for each day the employee reports for work, as required by the employer, but is given less than four hours of work, except that if the employee's scheduled hours for a day are less than four hours

(b) for at least one hour at the regular rate of pay of the employee involved for each day the employee is given specific instructions to contact the employer, or wait to be contacted by the employer, less than twenty-four hours in advance of the start of a potential work shift to determine whether the employee must report to work for such shift.

An employer shall pay a retail, food service, or cleaning employee for one additional hour at the employee's regular rate of pay for each day during which the employee works a split shift. On or before a new retail, food service, or cleaning employee's first day of work, the employer shall inform the employee in writing of the work schedule of the employee involved and the minimum number of expected work hours the employee will be assigned to work per month.

"Bona fide business reason" means the identifiable burden of additional costs to an employer, including the cost of productivity loss, retraining or hiring employees, or transferring employees from one facility to another facility; a significant detrimental effect on the employer's ability to meet organizational needs or customer demand;  a significant inability of the employer, despite best efforts, to reorganize work among existing staff;a significant detrimental effect on business performance; insufficiency of work during the periods an employee proposes to work; and the need to balance competing scheduling requests when it is not possible to grant all such requests without a significant detrimental effect on the employer's ability to meet organizational needs.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "This bill would protect hourly worker in the fields of retail, food service or cleaning, who often find themselves laden with unpredictable schedules and irregular hours. Industries that employ hourly workers are some of the fastest growing and lowest paying. Allowing workers a more stable schedule enables them to plan for essential responsibilities including child care and transportation. It is not uncommon for an hourly worker to be sent home early, before their scheduled shift ends or for the number of expected work hours or specific days to change with little or no notice. This can be crippling for working families. This bill would ensure that workers who get sent home early for under four hours of work are compensated fairly up to four hours and it would require some compensation to the employee for being "on call" if it is within 24 hours of the shift in question. This bill would promote more communication between employee and employer regarding expectations for work and require the employer to give more reasonable notice to the employee of changes in their work schedule. A more predictable schedule would result in a more focused employee who has been ensured their responsibilities outside of work have been taken care of. Additionally, giving hourly employees a voice at work would likely decrease worker turnover rates. In this way, this bill would benefit both the employee and the employer."

SB 1328 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to establishing a training wage

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure establishes a training wage that may be paid to a person under 18 with no prior job experience.This measure states that a training wage equal to eighty-five percent of the state minimum wage or one hundred percent of the federal minimum wage, whichever is less, may be paid to a youth who has no prior job experience. Any youth who receives a training wage and who did not work more than one hundred eighty days in the preceding calendar year shall receive, at a minimum, an annual increase in wages equal to twenty-five percent of the difference between the training wage and the state minimum wage until such youth reaches the age of eighteen.

No youth will be paid a training wage for more than one hundred eighty days. Employers are limited to twenty percent of their workforce, or no more than six employees receiving a training wage at any one particular location. At no time will a youth receiving a training wage be used to displace an employee who is receiving a wage equal to or greater than the state minimum wage.

"Youth" means a person who has not yet reached the age of eighteen.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "A training wage will provide employers with the ability to hire additional teenagers for summer jobs giving them the needed job experience to acquire better paying jobs with more responsibilities. The bill also acknowledges the high payroll cost of employment for businesses who hire teenagers who have no prior job experience. Teenagers who have no prior job experience are unable to show a potential employer that they demonstrate the responsible characteristics needed by business owners. The bill also recognizes that some businesses operate in a seasonal capacity, and often re-hire youths who worked in the previous year to work during their season of operation. By allowing any youth who received a training wage, and who worked less than 180 days in the previous calendar year, to be rehired by the same business at a rate of 25 percent of the difference between the training wage and the state minimum wage annually, the seasonal business will be able to maintain operations, while still increasing the wages of the youth worker."

SB 1828 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to the minimum wage for employees with disabilities

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure relates to the minimum wage for employees with disabilities.

This measure removes the exemption in the definition of employee for people impaired by physical or mental deficiency or injury and prohibits an employer from paying to any employee a wage that is less than the minimum wage on the basis that the employee has an actual or perceived disability.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 made it illegal for the first time for employers to discriminate against workers with disabilities. Although this was a significant win for the disability community there are still many instances of unequal access and treatment of Americans with disabilities. Currently, many disability providers employ people at "workshops" that pay far below the minimum wage. This bill seeks to follow the lead of Alaska, Maryland and New Hampshire that have prohibited this practice, as well as end the practice of paying less than the minimum wage to employees because of their age."

SB 1996 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to split shifts and minimum wage

Issue: Wage and Hour (Predictive Scheduling)

This measure relates to minimum wage payments during split shifts.

The measure provides for the payment of the minimum wage for all time past one hour in which an employee is working a split shift.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "A split shift is a situation where an employee works a certain number of hours separated by a long break and then must return later in the day to complete his or her work day. It is unreasonable to keep the employee under the employer's control without pay for periods of time in excess of one hour. The Department of Labor has interpreted the minimum wage law so that all hours worked are averaged and if the result is over the minimum wage, then lack of pay for 3 hours between the split shift, for example, would not be compensated. The bill corrects that unreasonable interpretation of law."

SB 1998 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to including bonus compensation in the definition of wages and forfeit of wages

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure includes bonus in the definition of wages for purposes of the labor law when the formula under which a bonus is determined is available to the employer or when the amount of a bonus has been declared.

This measure states that all wages, including bonuses, shall be non-forfeitable once the amount of the wage is known or can with reasonable certainty be known.

Bonus constitutes wages regardless of the source of revenue when:

  • (a) The formula under which a bonus is determined is certain and all the data utilized in calculating the amount of a bonus under the formula is available to the employer; or
  • (b) When the amount of a bonus has been declared by the employer.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "The Court of Appeals has held that bonus compensation is wages only if it is akin to commissions. This is unrealistic for many employees and contrary to the law in other States. Many employees who are not in sales have their bonus determined according to a formula based on firm profit. For example, there is no reason why stock brokers' bonuses should receive protection as wages but the same not be true for the bonuses of stock analysts or any other employees who receive bonuses based on a favorable evaluation of their performance rather than based on specific sales."

SB 2070 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to authorizing counties to opt out of any wage increase that eliminates the credit for tips

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure would authorize counties to opt-out of any wage increase that eliminates the credit for tips and amend the current labor law.

The measure provides that a county may opt-out of any increase in the hourly cash wage for food service workers and service employees that eliminates the credit for tips. Minimum wage orders shall be modified by the commissioner to increase all monetary amounts specified therein in the same proportion as the increase in the hourly minimum wage, including the amounts specified in such minimum wage orders as allowances for gratuities, and when furnished by the employer to its employees, for meals, lodging, apparel, and other such items, services and facilities. All amounts so modified shall be rounded off to the nearest 5 cents.

The measure also indicates that counties may opt-out of any wage orders, authorizing an increase in the cash wage for such employees that eliminates the credit for tips.

 

Additional Information: 

According to the Sponsor: "The proposal to remove the tipped wage credit has been met with strong opposition from restaurant owners, servers and industry leaders in upstate New York. This proposal is a "one-size-fits-all" policy that does not work for all of New York. The problems of servers and restaurant workers in places like Manhattan and Queens are not the same as the problems of upstate workers and servers. This legislation will give the counties the option to opt-out of the elimination of the tipped wage credit. By taking a regional approach, we can avoid legislating an issue in search of a problem in one region, and also allow other regions where the problem does exist, the opportunity to address it. In Saratoga Springs, we have heard from many industry workers who agree that they make far more than the minimum wage with the tipped wage credit. Saratoga Springs is an affluent tourist town that attracts millions of visitors every year. The servers in Saratoga are aware of the benefit of working in a tourist town and have chosen a career in the hospitality industry because it is so profitable. The same concept applies to small tourist towns like Lake George and Cooperstown as well. However, it is fair to argue that an issue such as wage theft may be tied to the culture of tipping in New York City. This is why a regional approach is more effective than an overarching, statewide policy."

SB 2207 - AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to requiring water safety instruction in schools

Issue: Ride Safety (ASTM F24)

This measure requires all students in grades kindergarten through twelve in all public schools in the state to receive instruction in water safety.

This measure requires all students in grades kindergarten through twelve in all public schools in the state to receive instruction in water safety. The program will be defined by the commissioner in regulations after consultation with the department of health and be designed to educate students about water safety in grades kindergarten through twelve. Age appropriate instruction will include, but not be limited to, the proper use of flotation devices, awareness of water conditions, how to respond if caught in a rip current, the proper supervision of swim areas, safe behaviors in and around the water, the importance of pool barriers and fencing, the importance of formal swim lessons, the importance of avoiding alcohol and substance use with water recreation, the importance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation for drowning victims and the importance of the order of administering such aid.

This measure will go into effect on the first of July next succeeding the date of enactment.

 

Additional Information:

According to the Sponsor: "Drownings are the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 14 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For every death, 5 more children's lives are changed due to brain and spinal cord injuries incurred due to water based accidents. While New York students participate in fire drills and active shooter drills, they do not receive instruction on the types of bodies of water they can encounter in in and around water."

SB 2560 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to limiting the civil liability of employers and employees for the spread or possible transmission of COVID-19 caused by an act or omission while acting in good faith

Issue: COVID-19 Liability Protection

This measure relates to limiting the civil liability of employers and employees for the spread or possible transmission of COVID-19 caused by an act or omission while acting in good faith.

The measure amends the labor law to establish definitions and provides that no individual, business trust, legal representative, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, joint stock company, university, school, not-for-profit, religious organization, or any organized group of such entities shall be liable in any civil action for the spread or possible transmission of COVID-19 caused by an act or omission of such person acting in good faith in the workplace.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "In addition to its effects on public health, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the economy of New York State. While businesses have begun to reopen, there is a significant gap in the protections afforded to both employer and employee while the economy gets back on its feet: a lack of protection against liability for the transmission of COV1D-19. New Yorkers who act in good faith should not be subjected to lawsuits or the threat of a lawsuit for the simple act of trying to provide for themselves or their families. This bill will ensure that employers or employees in the workplace who act in good faith, which the bill defines as making reasonable efforts to act in compliance with applicable public health guidelines or industry standards and guidance, are not held unreasonably accountable in civil court for the potential spread of COVID-19. This bill also includes language that ensures that these protections do not cover those who willfully or negligently were responsible for the spread of this deadly pandemic."

SB 2653 - AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to minimum wage reimbursement credit

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure establishes the minimum wage tax rate.

This measure states that for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021 and before January 1, 2024,  the amount of the minimum wage tax credit is equal to the product of the total number of hours during the taxable year worked by eligible employees for which they were paid at a rate that does not exceed the minimum wage plus fifty cents.

An eligible employee is an individual who is employed in New York state, paid at a rate that does not exceed the minimum wage plus fifty-cents, is between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, and is a student.

SB 3062 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to raising the minimum wage annually by a percentage which is based on inflation; and to repeal subdivision 6 of section 652 of the labor law relating thereto

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure would amend the labor law by raising the minimum wage annually by a percentage that is based on inflation.

The measure would require the Commissioner of Labor to publish an increase in the minimum wage each October according to increases in inflation up to 3.5%. When inflation is positive, the new minimum wage takes effect on December 31st. This applies to all areas in the state.

SB 3725 - AN ACT to amend the labor law and the workers' compensation law, in relation to liability of businesses for damages associated with a pandemic

Issue: COVID-19 Liability Protection

This measure relates to business safety plans and liability of businesses for damages associated with a pandemic.

This measure requires each place of employment to develop a business safety plan to provide reasonable and adequate protection from a pandemic disease for all employees and people who lawfully frequent such places. This measure provides that employers who develop and follow safety plans are not liable for damages to employees or patrons due to disease during a pandemic.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged businesses across New York State. It is essential that our economy can reopen as soon as possible. However, the question of liability has given many New York business owners concern as they plan how to reopen. Making businesses liable for employees or customers contracting COVID-19 would force many businesses to stay closed for much longer than necessary to protect themselves from the potentially monumental costs associated with such a liability. To get our economy running again, businesses need to have the confidence to do so without being sued. This is not just economically beneficial; it's fair to employers, too. Contact tracing is an imperfect art, and it is impossible to definitively say where someone contracted COVID-19. With such an uncertain method of detecting the source of an individual infection, it is simply not fair for businesses to be liable for transmission. This bill balances the two interests of public health and economic revival. Employers would be required by the bill to make a good-faith effort to protect all employees and customers from the disease and would still be liable for gross negligence in this regard."

SB 4163 - AN ACT in relation to providing relief for business owners and employers affected by COVID-19

Issue: COVID-19 Liability Protection

This measure provides relief for business owners and employers affected by COVID-19.

This measure provides that any small business who is forced to terminate an employee or employees must be exempt from any unemployment insurance rate increases. This exemption will be for a period of one year from the date that an executive order or law is issued or passed allowing for businesses to return to full staff and full hours of operation.

This measure requires Internet based food delivery service providers to be prohibited from increasing service and delivery fees charged to customers at any level higher than what such providers had contracted for on or before March 1, 2020.

The measure allows small businesses to have an additional 90 days to pay any monthly sales and payroll taxes which become due during such time. This measure also allows small businesses to have an additional 60 days to pay any business or property taxes which become due during such time. Businesses will also have an additional 90 days to pay any fees and penalties due to state and local agencies, which include, but not be limited to, late filing fees, penalties for late payment of sales tax owed and penalties for failure to renew liquor licenses.

The measure authorizes the State of New York Mortgage Agency to have the authority to originate and offer interest-free loans or lines of credit to any business who has been in operation as of March 1, 2020.

SB 4173 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to requiring employers to warn employees of potential hazardous environmental and health conditions in the workplace

Issue: COVID-19 Liability Protection

This measure would require employers to warn employees of potentially hazardous environmental and health conditions in the workplace.

The measure would require employers to mitigate those risks, including providing appropriate protective equipment and prohibit retaliation against employees and contract workers who refuse to work in or around those known health and environmental hazards if an employer has failed to mitigate those conditions or provide protective equipment. In addition, the commissioner shall establish procedures to allow employees and contract workers to inform the department of any hazardous health and environmental conditions, or of any employers in violation of this section, and the department shall share known violations of these procedures with appropriate public health or environmental authorities, if necessary.

 

Additional Information:

According to the sponsor: "The coronavirus outbreak has exposed many service workers to health and safety risks that they could not have anticipated and cannot avoid, since their job responsibilities cannot be performed remotely. Many of these workers are in positions that New York has deemed, essential, or that support critical public services. These workers often assume risks to their health without being informed of those risks and without appropriate protective measures. A "duty to warn" workers of potentially hazardous environmental and health conditions would clarify employers' general duty to protect the health and safety of their employees and contract workers."

SB 4175 - AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to establishing when a tip credit applies to employees working at tipped and non-tipped occupations on the same day

Issue: Minimum Wage

This measure will establish when a tip credit applies to employees working at tipped and non-tipped occupations on the same day.

This measure would allow a New York restaurant employee greater flexibility to work in a tipped and non-tipped capacity in the same shift, so long as the employer does not take the tip credit for the time worked in the non-tipped capacity if it exceeds two hours of a worker's shift. A food service worker's customary side work that is ancillary to his or her occupation and which is regularly and customarily performed as part of his or her regular job duties shall not be considered work at a non-tipped occupation.