New York State Department of Labor

Well, that was fast! As we reported on Tuesday, the New York State legislature passed a sweeping bill in late April known as the HERO Act. The HERO Act represents a massive change to the Empire State’s workplace health and safety protocols.

At the time of our initial post, the HERO Act was awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature. That signature came late Wednesday. Notably, however, the Governor has asked the legislature to make certain technical changes to the law, including giving the New York State Department of Labor and employers more specific instructions in developing and implementing the workplace standards required by the HERO Act. In addition, Governor Cuomo has asked that lawmakers add a requirement for employers to cure violations in order to better protect the safety of workers and limit claims by employees for violations, in limited circumstances where employers are acting in bad faith and failing to cure deficiencies.Continue Reading New York’s landmark HERO Act becomes law – With some caveats

As previously reported, Gov. Andrew Cuomo in May empaneled a three-person wage board (the Board) to study and fix perceived wage inequality suffered by New York’s fast food workers – including by recommending whether, and by how much, to raise their minimum wage. Cuomo’s actions were a direct response to state lawmakers’ snub of his latest attempt to raise the minimum wage statewide (it is already slated to increase to $9/hour in 2016, but Cuomo had tried to raise it to $10.50/hour).

During several meetings held throughout the state earlier this summer, the Board heard extensive – mostly one-sided – testimony on the appropriate wage rate for fast food workers. The Board also expressed concern during the meetings about these workers’ unpredictable schedules, and it considered whether to set the pay rate for part-time workers higher than that for full-time workers, so as to incentivize employers to create more full-time jobs.

The Board’s Proposals

Finally, on July 22, the Board revealed its formal proposals, which the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) is expected to adopt without hesitation.

From the business community’s standpoint, the only positive feature in the Board’s proposals is the absence of any recommendation regarding employee scheduling or distinct pay rates for part-time workers.

Continue Reading NY State Fast Food Workers Likely To Win $15 Minimum Wage Raise

Mark Goldstein contributed to the content of this post.

What do you do when you accidentally overpay an employee? Can you deduct the overpayment from the employee’s next paycheck? Until very recently, the answer in New York State was a resounding “no.” The scope of permissible deductions from employees’ wages was exceedingly limited. Although the Legislature expanded the scope of permissible deductions in June 2012 to include, among other things, deductions for various advances and, in certain circumstances, overpayment of wages (as more fully described here), reliance on the new law has been stymied by the State Department of Labor’s utter silence concerning the law’s implementation.Continue Reading New York Issues Proposed Regulations Expanding Paycheck Deductions