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NYC Enacts “Ban the Box” Law

Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to “Ban the Box” in NYC

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the “Fair Chance Act” into law. The ordinance restricts when employer inquiries about applicants’ criminal histories may be made during the application process and imposes significant obligations on employers who intend to take action based on such information.

The ordinance will become effective on October 27th, 2015, 120 days after receiving Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature.

Like other ban-the-box laws, the ordinance generally prohibits an employer with at least four employees from making an inquiry about an applicant’s pending arrest or criminal conviction record until after a conditional offer of employment has been extended. Limited exceptions are provided.

Under the ordinance’s definition of inquiry, employers are prohibited not only from asking an applicant prohibited questions – verbally or in writing – but also are prohibited from searching publicly available sources to obtain information about an applicant’s criminal history.

Employers who make inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history after a conditional offer of employment has been extended and determine that the information warrants an adverse employment action must follow a rigorous process. Specifically, employers must:

Provide the applicant with a “written copy of the inquiry” which complies with the City’s Commission on Human Right’s required (but not-yet-issued) format;

Perform the analysis required by Article 23(a) of the New York Correction Law, “Licensure and Employment of Persons Previously Convicted of One or More Criminal Offenses”;

Provide the applicant with a copy of its analysis, also in a manner which complies with the Commission’s required format, which includes supporting documents and an explanation of the employer’s decision to take an adverse employment action; and

Allow the applicant at least three business days to respond to the written analysis by holding the position open during this time.

Employers and business owners can contact Compass Workforce Solutions for help with compliance issues such as this and many, many more. Speak with one of our HR Business Partners today at 631.794.7400.

Annual Wage Notice Requirement Repealed

NYS Annual Wage Rate Notice Eliminated!

On December 29, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed a bill eliminating the Annual Pay Rate Notices!

What does this mean?

New York State employers are no longer required to issue the Annual Pay Rate Notices to employees on or before February 1 of each year.

What else do I need to know?

Employers are still required to provide written notice of Wage Rates to each new hire within 10 days of employment, receive written acknowledgement from the employee, and retain notices for 6 years. The notice must include:

  • Rate or rates of pay, including overtime rate of pay (if it applies)
  • How the employee is paid: by the hour, shift, day, week, commission, etc.
  • Regular payday and payroll frequency (weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly)
  • Official name of the employer and any other names used for business (DBA)
  • Address and phone number of the employer’s main office or principal location
  • Allowances taken as part of the minimum wage (tips, meal and lodging deductions)

Hospitality Employers take note:

Hospitality employers must provide employees with a new pay notice each time their pay rate changes. If hospitality employers have employees earning minimum wage, the minimum wage in NY increased to $8.75 per hour on 12/31/2014 & notices should have been provided.

Increased Penalties

The bill increases penalties for employers guilty of failing to comply with the Wage Theft Prevention Act and created the Wage Theft Prevention Enforcement Account. The state comptroller’s office will oversee the account. Any investigation of any alleged wage payment violations will cover the entire six-year statute of limitations period unless the Commissioner decides otherwise.

What are the Penalties?

Failure to provide the notice within 10 days of hire can result in fines of $50 per day up to $5,000

Failure to provide paystubs that comply with the WTPA are $250 per violation with a statutory cap on damages of $5,000

If the Commissioner obtains a judgment against an employer, a portion of the judgment must go to the employees harmed

Repeat offenders can be fined from $1,000 to $20,000

Other Need-to-Know Facts about WTPA

Personal Liability on LLCs

In an LLC, the ten members with the largest ownership interest are jointly liable for all debts, wages or salaries due and owing to the LLC’s employees. Wages or salaries are defined to include salaries, overtime, vacation, holiday and severance pay, employer contributions to pension or annuity funds, and any other money due or payable to employees. Employees may also recover liquidated damages, penalties, interest, and attorney’s fees or costs incurred in successfully pursuing such claims.

Successor Liability

Employers are prevented from evading their liabilities by forming “alter ego” companies. This means if an employer violates NYS Labor Law and has another firm that is similar in operation and ownership it can be deemed to be the same employer and be held responsible for liabilities.

Contractor Liability                                             

Construction contractors and subcontractors found to have failed to pay all wages to employees must provide written notice of the violations to all of their employees by enclosing the notice with employees’ wage statements.

Employers and business owners can contact Compass Workforce Solutions for help with compliance issues such as this and many, many more. Speak with one of our HR Business Partners today at 631.794.7400.

 

NYS Election Law Requires Posting 10 Days Prior to Election Day!

Ten days prior to Election Day and until the close of polls on Election Day, employers in New York State must post conspicuously the statue N.Y. Election Law 3-110 where it can been seen by employees as they come and go from work.

Additionally, the law requires employers to provide employees who are registered voters up to 2 hours paid leave to vote if an employee does not have sufficient time during non-working hours to vote. Sufficient time is 4 consecutive hours off before their work start time or 4 consecutive hours off after their work end time.

The polls in New York State are open from 6 AM to 9 PM on November 4 for the General Election.

Therefore, if an employee works 9 AM to 5 PM, they have sufficient time at the end of the day to vote.If an employee works 10 AM to 6 PM,they have sufficient time before work to vote.

If an employee needs time off to vote, they must notify their employer not more than 10 working days and not less than 2 working days prior to the election.

Violation of New York Election law is a misdemeanor. Fines range from $100 to $500 and/or 1 year imprisonment plus corporations face forfeiture of their charter.

You can view and print the election poster at:

http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/elections/AttentionEmployees.pdf

Employers and business owners can contact Compass Workforce Solutions for help with compliance issues such as this and many, many more.  Speak with one of our HR Business Partners today at 631.794.7400.