STRATEGIC PARTNERS

Government Affairs Updates

Governmental Affairs Director Contact:

Twyla Hardy 
Clarus Linen Systems
e-mail: ts_hardy@hotmail.com

 

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

New York Paid Family Leave

New York’s paid family leave law requires private sector employers to provide paid family leave benefits to eligible employees starting Jan. 1, 2018. Final regulations implementing the law were issued on July 19, 2017.

Under the law, paid family leave benefits will be phased in over a four-year period. When the law is fully implemented in 2021, employees may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The paid family leave benefits will be funded through employee paycheck deductions. Employers are not responsible for contributing to or funding paid family leave benefits, but may choose to do so.

 Eligibility

An employee who works 20 hours or more per week is eligible for paid family leave benefits if the employee works for a covered employer for 26 or more consecutive weeks. The final regulations confirm that a part-time employee (an employee who works fewer than 20 hours per week) is eligible for paid family leave after he or she has worked for a covered employer for 175 days.

Private sector employers are covered by New York’s paid family leave law if they have one or more employees employed in New York on each of at least 30 days in any calendar year.

 Funding for Paid Family Leave

The paid family leave benefit will be funded entirely through employee payroll deductions. No employer is required to contribute to or fund the paid family leave benefit.

The NYDFS has set the 2018 employee contribution rate for paid family leave benefits.  The employee contribution rate for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018, is 0.126 percent of an employee's weekly wage, not to exceed the statewide average weekly wage (currently, $1,305.92). This percentage will be updated by the NYDFS annually, on Sept. 1 of each year.

The final regulations confirm that, although not required to do so, employers were able to begin collecting employee contributions on July 1, 2017 (for the 2018 benefit year). According to the DOTF, contributions should be deducted from employees’ wages on an after-tax basis. Employers should report employee contributions on IRS Form W-2, using Box 14.

Employers have the option of self-insuring paid family leave, but only if the employer currently self-insures short-term disability benefits. Eligible employers that want to self-insure paid family leave must elect to do so by Sept. 30, 2017.

Waiver of Paid Family Leave

If an employee will not be eligible for paid family leave because he or she will not work 26 consecutive weeks (for employees who work 20 or more hours per week) or 175 days in a 52-week period (for employees who work fewer than 20 hours per week), the final regulations require the employer to inform the employee of his or her ability to file a waiver of family leave benefits.

If an employee chooses to file a waiver, the employee is exempt from making paid family leave contributions during his or her employment. If employment circumstances change so that the employee would be eligible for paid family leave, the waiver will be automatically revoked. If an employee chooses not to file a waiver, he or she will be obligated to make paid family leave contributions during employment. A model waiver form has been published by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board.

 Employee Protections

An employee who takes time off for a permitted paid family leave reason must be reinstated to his or her original position upon return to work, or reinstated to a comparable position with equal pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment. 

An employer must maintain an employee’s group health plan benefits for the duration of paid family leave as if the employee had continued to work. This includes the employee continuing to make his or her share of the premium contribution. Additionally, an employee may not lose any benefits accrued during employment prior to taking family leave. An employer may not retaliate against an employee who takes paid family leave.

Employer Notice Requirements and Possible Penalties

Employers will be required to conspicuously post a notice in the workplace to indicate their compliance with the paid family leave requirements. In addition, employers must provide employees who take eight or more consecutive days of family leave with a written notice of their rights under the paid family leave law.

Employers that maintain an employee handbook must include a paid family leave policy that outlines employees’ rights and obligations, including how to file a claim for paid family leave. An employer that does not maintain a handbook must provide each employee a written notice regarding all of the employee's rights and obligations under the paid family leave law, including information on how to file a claim for paid family leave.

The New York Workers’ Compensation Board published model language for employee materials as well as a model Statement of Rights that employers can use to fulfill notice obligations.

An employer that fails to comply with the requirements of the paid family leave law is guilty of a misdemeanor and may face penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

 Additional Information

New York established a website—Paid Family Leave: How it Works—that provides additional information, including answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), on the paid family leave law. There is also a website dedicated for employers - New York State Paid Family Leave: Employers.


Phillips Lytle LLP Alert for BNHRA Members

2018Sept-NY Releases Draft Training and Policy Models Related to Sexual Harassment Training

As previously noted, all employers in New York State will, among other things, be required to adopt and distribute a new anti-sexual harassment prevention policy by October 9, 2018, and implement annual sexual harassment prevention training for all New York employees.  The New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”), in consultation with the New York State Division of Human Rights (“SDHR”), recently released a draft guidance relating to New York State’s anti-sexual harassment laws.

The draft guidance includes the following:
(1) Combating Sexual Harassment: Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”)
(2) Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
(3) Minimum Standards for Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies
(4) A Model Sexual Harassment Policy for All Employers in New York State
(5) A Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
(6) A Model Internal Complaint Form for Reporting Sexual Harassment

The draft guidance is open for public comment through
September 12, 2018. Employers wishing to submit
comments regarding the draft guidance should contact
Phillips Lytle.

Read more...


Other Government Affairs Updates:

NLRB Reinstitutes the Browning-Ferris Joint Employer Standard - For Now (March 28, 2018)

When the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) expanded its definition of “joint employer” in 2015 to include companies that share some direct or indirect control over other companies’ employees, many businesses were understandably concerned that they could become
partly or wholly responsible for individuals previously considered to be other companies’ employees. This new joint employer standard, established in the NLRB’s decision
Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 N.L.R.B. No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015) (“Browning-Ferris”), seemed to be here to stay, as it was cited extensively by the NLRB and adopted by federal district courts.

Read more...


The Social Security Standard


Social Security Standard: Working While Disabled (Aug 2018)

08/15/2018

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Social Security…Live: Engaging with the public in a number of ways (June 2018)

06/01/2018

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Checklist for Your Social Security - annual check-up (May 2018)

05/01/2018

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It’s National Social Security Month - Educating you about our programs and services (April 2018)

04/01/2018

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Your Contributions Help Millions for a lifetime of protection (March 2018)

03/01/2018

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Easily Access Your Social Security Benefit Statement for 2017 (February 2018)

02/01/2018

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5 Ways Social Security Protects You and your family planning (December 2017)

12/01/2017

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How May We Help You With Your Financial Planning (November 2017)

11/01/2017

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13 Fearless Things To Know about Your Social Security Number (October 2017)

10/01/2017

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Previous Phillips Lytle LLP Alert for BNHRA Members


2018Sept-NY Releases Draft Training and Policy Models Related to Sexual Harassment Training

09/12/2018

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Employment Forms Update

08/15/2018

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Employers’ Use of Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Upheld (June 2018)

06/01/2018

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New York State Enacts Sweeping Legislation to Combat Workplace Sexual Harassment (April 2018)

04/01/2018

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ICE Form I-9 Compliance Investigations in the Trump Era (March 2018)

03/01/2018

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Recent Important Changes at NLRB Promising for Employers (February 2018)

02/01/2018

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Workplace Wellness Programs: The Legal Issues (December 2017)

12/01/2017

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

09/01/2017

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Labor & Employment: New York State Paid Family Leave (August 2017)

08/01/2017

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

06/01/2017

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Labor And Employment Law Under The Trump Administration

05/01/2017

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Previous Government Affairs Updates


NLRB Reinstitutes the Browning-Ferris Joint Employer Standard - For Now (March 28, 2018)

03/28/2018

Read more