As we previously detailed, last week New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined guidelines for when Empire State businesses can reopen and return to “in-person” operations.  Under the Governor’s plan, reopenings will be determined, first, on a region-by-region and then, once a region is eligible to reopen, on a phased industry-by-industry basis.

In the wake of Governor Cuomo’s announcement, New York businesses have been clamoring for additional information on the reopening requirements.  Yesterday, the Governor provided such information – specifically, he:

  • Unveiled a regional monitoring dashboard – available here – showing where each of the Empire State’s 10 regions stands with regard to satisfying the Governor’s criteria for reopening.

According to the dashboard, the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley regions have each satisfied all seven of the Governor’s reopening criteria.  This means that, starting on May 15 (when the State’s “stay at home” order lifts), these three regions can likely reopen “phase one” businesses, which include construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, select retail for curbside pickup only, agriculture, forestry, and fishing (a comprehensive list can be found here).

New York City has, thus far, satisfied the fewest reopening criteria – four – of any region.

  • Released a comprehensive, 51-page “New York Forward Reopening” plan –available here. The plan addresses business reopenings plus a host of other COVID-19-related issues.
  • Announced that certain low-risk businesses and recreational activities, including landscaping, gardening, tennis, and drive-in movie theaters, will reopen statewide on May 15.

Continue Reading New York announces additional reopening guidance, including a regional monitoring dashboard

Yesterday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined guidelines for when Empire State businesses can reopen and return to “in-person” operations.  Under the Governor’s plan, reopenings will be determined on a region-by-region and industry-by-industry basis.  And when businesses do ultimately reopen, they will be required to adopt a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer, and implement specific safety precautions.  Below we will delve into the Governor’s staggered, phased approach to reopening New York.
Continue Reading Gov. Cuomo announces guidelines to “reopen” New York

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, yesterday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill providing job protection and benefits to certain employees quarantined due to COVID-19.

Principally, the legislation provides certain job protections to employees subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state, the Department of Health, a local board of health, or any government entity authorized to issue a quarantine order. The protections vary based on employer size, as follows:
Continue Reading Big Apple employers: Governor Cuomo announces job protections and paid sick leave for New Yorkers quarantined due to COVID-19

As one part of its continuing approach to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State will soon be requiring employers statewide to utilize remote work arrangements to the maximum extent feasible and to slash the number of employees in their physical work locations.

Pursuant to an executive order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo late last night, effective as of 8 p.m. EDT on March 20, all businesses within the Empire State will be required to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any remote working procedures that they can safely implement. Perhaps equally, if not more, impactful on the business community, also by 8 p.m. EDT on March 20, all New York employers will be required to reduce their in-person workforces at any physical work locations by 50 percent.Continue Reading New York requires remote working, 50% reduction in employees at physical work locations

New York state rang in 2020 with a sweeping change to its minimum wage and tip credit rules that is expected to impact roughly 70,000 workers. On December 31, 2019, the New York State Department of Labor (the NYSDOL) recommended to Governor Andrew Cuomo that the state eliminate the tip credit for all miscellaneous industry workers (don’t worry, we will explain what that means). Governor Cuomo has announced that he will implement the recommendation, which will go into effect later this year.

By way of background, both federal and New York state laws generally require that employers pay non-exempt – i.e., hourly – employees at least the applicable minimum wage rate. Both laws, however, contain an exception that permits employers to pay tipped employees less than the minimum wage, provided that the employees’ direct wages plus tips equal or exceed the minimum wage rate or overtime rate, as applicable. The difference between the minimum wage rate – which presently varies between $12.50 and $15 per hour in New York (depending on location within the state) – and the reduced wage for tipped employees is known as a “tip credit.” In practical terms, the tip credit means that certain employers are permitted to pay employees at a rate lower than the minimum wage so long as the employees receive sufficient tips in the course of their work.

Continue Reading New year, new changes to New York state’s minimum wage and tip credit rules

New York lawmakers have been busy this summer. First, in June, they passed a suite of bills significantly expanding the protections afforded by the state’s antidiscrimination law and adding remedies for employees asserting unpaid wage claims. Then in July, they loosened the definition of retaliation under the state’s labor law. They apparently were not done.

This is the second installment of our two-part blog series on recent wage-related changes to New York state law. In part one, we covered the expanded definition of retaliation under the New York Labor Law. Today, we will discuss a bill that permits employees to place wage liens on their employer’s property.

Employees in New York have long been able to seek recourse for wage claims through litigation in federal and state court, as well as through the federal and state Departments of Labor. Under this new legislation, employees will also be able to place a lien on an employer’s real or personal property for the value of an alleged wage claim and related liquidated damages. A “wage claim” under the bill includes federal and state claims related to minimum wage, overtime, spread of hours, unlawful deductions, withheld gratuities, improper tip and meal credits, and compensation under employment agreements. Employees of all classifications and pay rates will be able to obtain wage liens within three years after their employment ends.Continue Reading New York Continues Expansion of Worker Wage Protections (Part 2)