Posts tagged New York State Department of Labor.
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New York State has long required employers to support working mothers by providing certain accommodations for nursing employees. Last year, the State imposed a written lactation accommodation policy requirement on all employers, following the lead of New York City and California (among other jurisdictions) [see our Insight on the lactation accommodation legislation here]. As of June 19, 2024, employers’ obligations have again expanded: all New York State employers must provide 30 minutes of paid break time for employees to express breast milk for their nursing child for up to three years following the child’s birth.

The obligations are prescribed by an amendment to the State’s breastmilk expression law, New York Labor Law § 206-C (the “Law”), which was enacted as part of a package of legislation accompanying the New York State Budget for Fiscal Year 2024-2025, signed into law on April 20, 2024 by New York Governor Kathy Hochul. Shortly before the Law took effect, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) published new materials under the headline “Breast Milk Expression in the Workplace,” including general information about the Law, a policy statement, information sheets for employees and employers, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

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For employers doing business in New York, the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act (the “Act”) signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul in March of this year may have stirred up memories of the New York City ordinance enacted just a few years ago by the same name. Both laws establish protections for freelance workers that aim to ensure that they receive timely compensation for all services performed. The namesake state law, however, does not impose obligations identical to those required by the city-level ordinance. Moreover, some not well-publicized legislative shuffling has caused confusion about the Act and its applicability statewide.

Wait, Didn’t This Happen Already?

Earlier this year, we wrote about the Act, anticipating an effective date of May 20, 2024. However, two days after our publication, the New York State Senate took up a bill to amend the Act by removing its provisions from the New York Labor Law— which is enforced by the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”)—and codifying it instead as Article 44-A of the New York General Business Law—which is enforced by the state’s Attorney General. The governor signed this legislation on March 1, thereby bumping the Act’s effective date to August 28, 2024.

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The post-#MeToo reforms to New York State’s Human Rights Law, which expanded the anti-sexual harassment provisions, included a requirement that the state’s model policy, last issued in 2018, be reviewed and revised every four years. On January 12, 2023, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) published a Proposed Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policy (“Proposed Model Policy”). The public has until February 11, 2023, to view and comment on the proposed revisions prior to a final version being adopted.

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New York employers seeking further relaxation of COVID-19 mitigation protocols after the recent lifting of a statewide mask mandate will have to wait. The designation of the virus as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health” that had been extended through February 15, 2022 was extended yet again. An order by the New York State Commissioner of Health continues the designation, made pursuant to the New York HERO Act, through March 17, 2022. This means that New York employers must continue to implement their safety plans ...

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As we have previously explained, pursuant to Section 1 of the NY HERO Act, employers were required to prepare an airborne infectious disease exposure plan, and implement such plans when the New York State Commissioner of Health has made a designation that a highly contagious communicable disease presents a serious risk of harm to public health. Currently, such a designation is in effect until February 15, 2022. The New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) prepared model plans based on their published Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard (“Standard”). On August 25, 2021, the NYSDOL published a set of emergency regulations, identical to the Standard, in the New York State Register. Although they had not been formally adopted, most businesses have been following the Standard.

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The  New York State Acting Commissioner of Health has extended the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health under the NY HERO Act until February 15, 2022. Accordingly, the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans required under Section 1 of the Act must be kept in place through that date, at which point the Commissioner will review whether the designation should be continued.

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On December 22, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (NY DOL) issued the long-awaited proposed rule (Proposed Rule) regarding the workplace safety committees that are required by the New York HERO Act (HERO Act). While there is no current effective date for the Proposed Rule (which is first subject to a public comment period and a February 9, 2022 hearing), employers should become familiar with, and consider taking actions to timely comply with the Proposed Rule should it be adopted as currently drafted.

The HERO Act

In May of 2021, New York responded to workplace safety and health issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic by enacting the HERO Act.  Since that time, the State has amended the HERO Act to allow the NY DOL additional time to create model safety standards for infectious disease exposure plans (“safety plans”) mandated by the HERO Act and to allow employers additional time for compliance.

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On October 8, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) issued guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs” or the “Guidance”) to assist employers in navigating the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (“MRTA” or the “Act”) and in understanding what they can and cannot do. As we previously reported, the MTRA, enacted on March 31, 2021, legalized recreational cannabis in the State. Of particular importance to employers, the Act amended New York Labor Law Section 201-D (“Section 201-D”) to create new legal protections for ...

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By:  Amy Traub 

Following up on our previous blog posting from November 2, 2010, on December 16, 2010, the New York State Department of Labor issued a new minimum wage order (the “Order”) which will bring immediate changes to the restaurant and hotel industries. Under the Order, employees will be due a higher minimum wage and subject to new tip pooling rules. Meanwhile, employers will need to comply with more stringent recordkeeping requirements. Although employers have until February 28, 2011, to adjust their payrolls, they will still owe their employees back pay as of ...

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