New Yorkers who employ of domestic workers should note two recent amendments to the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) that went into effect on December 31, 2021, which together extend full protection of the NYSHRL to individuals employed in domestic service in New York. .  In addition, beginning on March 12, 2022, employment protections afforded by the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) will apply to all domestic workers.

The first amendment to the state law removed language from the definition of “employee” under section 292(6), which had previously excluded domestic workers from most of the NYSHRL’s protections. Now, the only category of persons excluded from the definition of “employee” are those individuals employed by their parents, spouse, or child. The second amendment repealed section 296-b, which had protected domestic workers from harassment, but not other types of discrimination.

Continue Reading New Protections for Domestic Workers Under the New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws

On January 26, 2022, legislation (“Amendments”) amending and significantly expanding the scope of New York’s whistleblower laws will take effect.

As our previous Insight explained in more detail, the Amendments make it much easier for individuals to bring a retaliation claim under New York Labor Law § 740 (“Section 740”) and increase coverage for workers who allege that they have been retaliated against for reporting suspected employer wrongdoing to include former employees and independent contractors.

Continue Reading New York’s Expanded Whistleblower Protections and Notice Requirements Take Effect January 26, 2022

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.

Continue Reading New York HERO Act “Standard” Formally Adopted as Emergency Rule

New York recently updated two significant aspects of its Paid Family Leave program: (1) expanding the definition of “family member” to include siblings and (2) increasing the cap on weekly benefits available.

Since its inception in 2018, Paid Family Leave has offered eligible employees the ability to take  job protected, partially-paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious illness, or provide assistance when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty. In 2020, after years of gradual increases in the maximum amount of leave and benefits, eligible employees may use up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave per rolling 52-week period.

Continue Reading New York’s Paid Family Leave Is Expanding in Two Ways

As we previously reported, in December New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued a mandate requiring that masks be worn in all indoor public places, unless the business or venue requires proof of vaccination for entry.  As part of the state’s “Winter Surge Plan 2.0”, the mandate, which was initially set to expire on January 15, has now been extended for an additional two weeks, through February 1, 2022.

Continue Reading Keep on Masking: NY Governor Extends Mask Mandate Through February 1, 2022

Earlier this year, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board adopted amendments to the regulations for the New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law clarifying that when Paid Family Leave (PFL) is taken intermittently, the maximum number of intermittent leave days an employee may take is based on the average number of days the employee works per week.

Continue Reading Cap on Intermittent New York Paid Family Leave Eliminated Effective January 1, 2022

On December 22, 2021, the New York Department of Labor (“DOL”) adopted rules (“Rules”) implementing the state’s sick leave law (NY Labor Law §196-b, or the “Sick Leave Law”), providing long-awaited clarification of the Sick Leave Law, which went into effect over a year ago on September 30, 2020. The Rules, codified as Section 196 to Title 12 of the NYCRR, were proposed on December 9, 2020, and adopted without change. In addition to providing definitions of terms used in the Sick Leave Law, the Rules address three topics: (i) documentation an employer may require to verify an employee’s eligibility to use sick leave; (ii) how to count the number of employees an employer has for the purposes of determining employees’ sick leave entitlement; and (iii) how to calculate an employee’s accrual of sick leave. In addition, the DOL’s response to public comments it received after the Rule was proposed, explain how carryover of accrued unused sick leave works.

Continue Reading New York Adopts Rules Clarifying Sick Leave Law

The Commissioner of the New York Department 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 January 15, 2022, at which point the designation will be reviewed. Accordingly, the airborne infectious disease exposure

UPDATE: New York State issued FAQs confirming that the mask mandate applies to private businesses and their employees. Employers in office spaces must either require proof of vaccination or impose a mask mandate. Masks must be worn except “when eating, drinking, or alone in an enclosed room.”

Continue Reading New York Governor Reinstates Mask Mandate

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