As we previously reported, on March 18, 2020, New York State passed a law providing job protection and benefits to certain employees quarantined or isolated due to exposure to and/or infection with COVID-19. On January 20, the New York State Department of Labor issued supplemental guidance clarifying some important points for employers about complying
In September 2020, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) issued guidance related to COVID-19 claims and their compensability under the State’s workers’ compensation laws. This guidance is especially noteworthy because workers’ compensation claims are expected to increase substantially as a result of COVID-19.
By way of background, New York is one of the few states that statutorily requires employers to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance provides benefits to workers who become ill or injured due to their employment, i.e. a work-related illness or injury. The recently-released guidance, therefore, is particularly significant because it states that Empire State employees who contract COVID-19 while working will generally be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Compensable claims entitle an employee to payment of an injured worker’s medical treatment for the work-related illness, wage replacement benefits if the illness prevents the employee from working, benefits to an employee’s surviving dependents in the event of death, and reimbursement of funeral expenses. …
Continue Reading New York employers may be “exposed” to COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims
As we previously reported, this past September the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new rule that would create a uniform approach to the way companies classify workers as independent contractors or employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). More specifically, in the proposed rule, the DOL adopted the “economic reality” test,…
Federal law, as well as many state and local laws, require employers to display notices and posters in the workplace advising employees of their rights. With many employers operating remotely due to COVID-19, however, questions regarding these statutory posting requirements have arisen. In response, on December 29, 2020, the United States Department of Labor released guidance addressing the permissibility of providing the required postings through electronic means.
By way of background, no less than 15 federal laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, require employers to display notices or posters in the workplace advising workers of their rights under such laws. Generally speaking, the notices or posters must be physically displayed in a conspicuous location that can be easily accessed by all employees (break rooms and cafeterias, for instance, are common locations for this).
Continue Reading Pandemic or not, employers must still comply with notice-posting requirements under federal law
As we previously reported, on June 24, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order requiring that individuals returning to New York State from so-called restricted states – i.e., states that met certain COVID-19 transmission levels – quarantine for a period of 14 days upon return. As we also reported, effective November 4, New York adopted new protocols and issued an updated travel advisory and Interim Guidance allowing out-of-state travelers to test out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Just six days later, however – on November 10 – the State updated these protocols yet again. This article will summarize the cumulative changes implemented by the November 4 and 10 updates.
Specifically, the updated protocols permit any traveler to New York from a noncontiguous state, a U.S. territory, or a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) level two or three country, to test out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine as follows:…
Continue Reading New York updates its travel protocols for out-of-state travelers for the second time this month
As we previously reported, on June 24, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order requiring that individuals returning to New York State from so-called restricted states – i.e., states that met certain COVID-19 transmission levels – quarantine for a period of 14 days upon return. Effective November 4, however, New York has adopted new protocols and issued an updated travel advisory allowing out-of-state travelers to test out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Specifically, the updated protocols permit any traveler to New York from out of state – with the exception of neighboring states Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont – to test out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine as follows:…
New York City first adopted a local paid sick leave law in 2014. Over the ensuing six years, the City legislature amended the law several times, including in 2018 to add “safe leave” as a form of paid time off. Late last month, the City amended the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA) yet again – this time to align the Big Apple’s local law with the recently-enacted statewide Paid Safe and Sick Leave law (NYSPSL). As detailed below, the bill builds on and expands the ESSTA’s existing paid safe and sick leave requirements.
Scope of coverage
To start, the amendments modify the scope of workers covered by the ESSTA. Under the prior iteration of the law, the ESSTA only applied to individuals who worked in New York City more than 80 hours in a calendar year. The amended law, however, applies to all individuals employed within the City, regardless of the number of hours worked.
Continue Reading New York City passes key amendments to paid safe and sick leave law
This week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new rule that would create a uniform approach to the way companies classify workers as independent contractors or employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The notion of classifying workers as independent contractors versus employees has continued to gain importance in recent years, given the growing gig economy, which makes independent contractors central to the business models of many major companies.
The DOL’s newly proposed rule would greatly benefit companies, by making it easier to classify workers as independent contractors and thereby remove a company’s obligation to provide typical employee benefits and workplace protections, such as paid leave, overtime pay and other fringe benefits. This marks a large shift from the standard proposed under the Obama administration, which would have broadened the scope of employee status, but was ultimately nixed by the Trump administration in 2017. …
Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor proposes new “reality” for classifying independent contractors
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a rule updating its interpretation of the “joint employer” doctrine under federal wage and hour law. Yesterday, however, a New York federal judge struck down a significant portion of the rule. Judge Gregory H. Woods’ 62-page decision delivers a significant blow to businesses that had relied on the business-friendly nature of the DOL’s new rule.
By way of background, the joint employment doctrine refers to a situation where a worker is deemed employed by more than one entity at the same time. If multiple entities are considered joint employers, they can then generally each be held jointly and severally liable for workplace violations (e.g., discrimination, harassment, retaliation, unpaid wages).
Continue Reading New York federal judge nixes U.S. Department of Labor’s new “joint employer” rule
The enactment of paid sick leave laws began as a state and local employment law trend roughly a decade ago, gaining substantial momentum in the mid-2010’s. Amidst this wave, New York City adopted a paid sick leave law in April 2014. The City Council later amended the law – in May 2018 – to provide employees with “safe leave” as well. And in 2019, Westchester County enacted its own paid sick and safe leave law.
Now, more than six years after NYC adopted the original iteration of its paid sick leave law, New York State has enacted its own statewide paid sick leave law (NYPSL), which takes effect on September 30, 2020. Principally, NYPSL provides paid time off for certain sickness-related reasons, with the specific amount of time varying based on employer size and net income. Below is a summary of the new law’s key provisions.
Continue Reading Everything you need to know about New York’s forthcoming statewide paid sick leave law