Government Affairs Updates

    Governmental Affairs Director Contact:

    Twyla Hardy 
    Clarus Linen Systems


    Governmental Affairs Mission

    BNHRA Governmental Affairs partners with SHRM Governmental Affairs program to anticipate and address regulations and legislation that could change the way human resource professionals perform their jobs. BNHRA collaborates with NYS SHRM and SHRM to advance the human resource profession in the area of government affairs. BNHRA provides an opportunity for local chapter members to assist in shaping regulation and legislation as the subject matter experts in employment relations in Western New York.   

    Interested in helping out with Government Affairs?

    Contact the Director of Governmental Affairs!

     What's New In Governmental Affairs: February 

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of its Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification form. All U.S. employers must begin using the new Form I-9 after January 22, 2017.

    Currently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducts over 3,000 I-9 employer audits annually, and immigration enforcement is anticipated to increase during the Trump presidency. 

    Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. 

    On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9.  

    The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers.  

    The new version of the Form I-9 includes some clarifications as well as some changes designed to make the form easier to fill out electronically. Form I-9s completed electronically will still need to be printed and signed by the employee and employer agent by hand. One of the changes is in Section 1 which now asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used.” 

    Enhancements for easier completion of the form include drop-down lists and calendars for entering dates, the addition of prompts to help ensure that information is entered properly, on-screen instructions for each field, and easy access to the full instructions. It also includes an option to clear the form and start over. Other changes you’ll find on the new I-9 include:

    • Question regarding whether a preparer or translator was used
    • Space to enter multiple preparers and translators
    • A supplemental page for the preparer/translator
    • Creation of a QR code once the Form I-9 is completed electronically
    • A field to enter additional information such as E-Verify confirmation numbers, termination dates and correction notes
    • Separating the full instructions from the form itself. .

    All U.S. employers should review their I-9 policies and procedures to ensure they are up to date with the changes to the form. Employers that are responsible for the completion of Form I-9 should become familiar with the changes immediately to ensure timely transition to exclusive use of the revised form. Compliance will be critical as Form I-9 enforcement audits are anticipated to increase.  

    For more information or to order copies of the Form I-9 please contact the USCIS, you can call 1-800-870-3676 or go to 


    New York’s Paid Family Leave Program Will Require Employers to Update Their Leave Policies (September 2017)

    In 2016, Governor Cuomo signed the Paid Family Leave program (“PFL”), to take effect on January 1, 2018. The law shares several broad similarities with the federal government’s Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”); some of the distinctions, however, will require employers to update their policies regarding leave.

    The PFL and FMLA (collectively, “Acts”) are similar in that they both provide a leave of absence for eligible employees as a result of a family member’s “serious health condition,” the birth or adoption of a child, or military service. The Acts protect employees against termination for taking this leave and require that employers maintain employees’ health insurance benefits, though they do not mandate that either seniority or other benefits accrue during the leave period. Both Acts require that employees give their employers notice and adequate medical certification. The Acts both require that they run concurrently, unless the employer allows for an alternative arrangement, or one of the requirements for either the FMLA or PFL is not met.


    Labor & Employment

    New York State Paid Family Leave (August 2017)

    On January 1, 2018, New York State’s Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) program will take effect. Accordingly, employers should be informed about the law’s requirements, ensuring that they are prepared for the law’s implementation.

    PFL: The Basics
    The PFL program has been described by the State Workers’ Compensation Board as the “most robust” program in the country. PFL provides paid time off to employees for bonding with a child, family care and family issues arising from military service. The bonding with a child provision provides time off for both parents to bond with a child from birth, adoption or foster care.  The family care provision provides time off for an employee to care for a family member with a serious health condition. This applies to care for an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild. These family members may live outside of New York State or the United States. The military service provision provides time off for an
    employee to provide assistance to his or her family when a family member goes into active military service. The family member may be an employee’s spouse, child, domestic partner or parent.
    How PFL is Funded
    Employees will fully fund the program through a premium payment which employers may deduct from employees’ paychecks as early as July 1, 2017.  PFL will be included in New York State Disability Benefit insurance policies that employers purchase from a private carrier or the State insurance fund, although employers will have the option of purchasing a separate PFL plan.

    phillips lytle llp alert for BNHRA Members:
    data security & privacy

    Managing the Human Element of Cybersecurity: an Employee Lifecycle Control Structure (July 2017)

    Cybersecurity threats are not limited to only cyberspace; a human component exists that must be mitigated. What division of a firm’s organization understands its employees better than Human Resources (“HR”)?

    HR has the skills necessary to detect and control two potential insider threats to an organization’s cybersecurity.  First, the well-intentioned employee who makes a mistake
    (e.g., sending confidential information to a personal email address rather than a work-related email address). Second, a disgruntled employee who has ill will towards the organization (e.g., a former employee who was recently fired and seeks retaliation).

    Employees need to be acutely aware of the organization’s cybersecurity policies and procedures, trained in the proper application of the policies and procedures, and understand (and accept) their personal responsibilities and accountabilities. This alert provides an employee lifecycle control structure that HR professionals can implement to improve cybersecurity within their organization.  Read more...

    Labor and Employment Law Under the Trump Administration

    By James D. Donathen and Christine Donovan Bub, Phillips Lytlle LLP (May 2017)

    Many employers enthusiastically greeted the election results and hoped that President Trump would “Make America Great Again” in the employment area. Now that the first 100 days have passed, some may be disappointed and ask if this is just more “fake news.” As in politics, the truth may lie somewhere in the middle.
    Although broad policy changes were expected, many employment law issues may be largely unaffected by the new administration. This is particularly true in New York State where progressive policies and agenda may trump any changes at the federal level. A short sampling of significant issues follows.  Read more...

    Fiduciary Article provided to BNHRA Members by Westminster Consulting (March 2017)

    We apologize for the bad news
    Many of our readers are fiduciary trustees for large pools of money: pension funds, charitable foundations, employee welfare & retirement plans, and so on. You, the fiduciaries, should be applauded for adopting this burden, for it is often an under-appreciated duty. As fiduciaries, you are responsible for a great deal and the scope of your responsibilities is ever increasing.

    At Westminster Consulting, we sometimes are bearers of bad news. It would be easier to tell investment committees all the ways that their attention wasn’t required and how much more leisure time everyone gets. In reality, we are obligated to explain where your fiduciary duties are.  Read more....


    Fiduciary Article provided to BNHRA Members by Westminster Consulting (February 2017)

    “There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know.

    There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.

    But there are also unknown unknowns.  There are things we do not know we don’t know.”

    -US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld 


    The mistake we see far too often is this:  employers have tasked non-fiduciary advisors with fiduciary duties and vice-versa.


    The laws that govern institutional investing are constantly in flux.  The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), having started in 1974, is relatively mature but the application and expansion of these legal constructs are ongoing.  For example, Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) and the Pension Protection Act (PPA) circulated in a wave of reform in 2006 through 2007.  Read More....

    For more information contact: David Bard at 716-445-4518