STRATEGIC PARTNERS

Government Affairs Updates

Governmental Affairs Committee

Governmental Affairs Mission

BNHRA Governmental Affairs partners with the 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 national 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. 

Do you have questons, suggestions or general feedback?  Please contact the Director of Governmental Affairs!

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NYS Paid Voting Law Changes

Employers must be aware of and comply with the recent changes to New York’s “time off to vote” statute, Election Law Section 3-110.  Section 3-110 provides that: “(a) registered voter may, without loss of pay for up to three hours, take off so much working time as will enable them to vote(.)” Section 3-110 applies to federal, state, county, city, town, and village elections, including primary, general, and special elections. It does not, however, apply to school board elections.

Per the plain language of the statute, the employee does not automatically receive three hours to vote; rather, the employee is entitled to take off as much time (up to three hours without loss of pay) as will enable the employee to vote. While there is no easy rule as to what constitutes "so much working time as will enable them to vote,” the employer alone is not in the best position to make that determination. Voter wait times at the polls and traffic conditions, among other things, can cause the amount of time needed to be more or less. If the employer reduces the time a voter requests under this provision, the employer runs the risk of running afoul of this statute.

The statute and administrative guidance strongly suggest that employers cannot require employees to use any paid time off, personal time, etc. to cover the voting leave.  Employers are, however, empowered to designate whether an employee can use their voting leave at the beginning or end of his or her scheduled shift.

Employers must post a notice regarding the availability of time off to vote at least 10 days prior to Election Day (should be posted by now for 11/3/2019 election!). A link to the poster can be found below. Employees must notify the employer of their need for time off to vote at least two (2) working days prior to the election.  Employers can generally deny the employee’s request if request is made less than two (2) days prior to the election.

The law applies only to registered voters, but does not specify whether or not an employer can ask for proof that an employee is registered. Guidance issued by the New York State Civil Service Department suggests that employers cannot require such proof. It also remains unclear whether employers can require employees to submit proof that they used the time to vote.

According to guidance from the New York State Board of Elections, time off to vote is available only on Election Day and does not provide time off during early voting periods.

HELPFUL LINKS:

Posting: https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/elections/AttentionEmployees.pdf

To see if you’re a registered voter: https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/

Board of Election FAQ: https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/elections/TimeOffToVoteFAQ.pdf


Phillips Lytle LLP Alert for BNHRA Members

Federal Salary Level for “White Collar” Minimum Wage and Overtime Exemptions Set to Increase on January 1, 2020

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new final rule that will, for the first time in 15 years, increase the salary threshold necessary to exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. Effective January 1, 2020, the “white collar” salary level will increase from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $684 per week ($35,568 annually). In addition, the total annual compensation level for highly compensated employees (HCEs) to be exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements will
increase from $100,000 to $107,432 per year on the same date. As a result, white collar employees earning less than $35,568 and HCEs earning less than $107,432 will become eligible for overtime under the FLSA on January 1, 2020.  The Department of Labor expects that these changes will cause an estimated 1.3 million workers to become newly entitled to overtime protection. In determining whether a white collar employee or HCE meets the salary requirement, the new rule allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level.  READ MORE

 

Other Government Affairs Updates:

Social Security 2018 Red Book - A Guide to Work Incentives

The Red Book is our free guide to employment supports for recipients of Social Security disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or both. It explains our work incentives, how working can affect benefits, where to find local services, and more.

Educators, rehabilitation specialists, and counselors rely on this publication every year. Whether your clients are thinking about working now or may want to work in the future, the Red Book can help them consider the possibilities.

The Red Book is available on our website.  https://www.ssa.gov/redbook/

For a free printed copy of the 2018 Red Book, please contact us by one of the following methods.

By Mail

Social Security Administration
Office of Supply and Warehouse Management
Requisition and Quality Control Team
6401 Security Boulevard
2508 Robert M. Ball Building
Baltimore, MD 21235-6301

By Email, Phone, or Fax:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (410) 965-2039

Fax: (410) 965-2037

The Social Security Standard