COMP NEWS – New York lawmakers have passed a series of legislative actions in an effort to protect workers. The new laws range from protections for independent contractors, amendments to workplace saftey laws, and restrictions on overworkings healthcare employees.
Below are a few of the legislative acts that have recently been passed:
Freelance Isn’t Free Act
New York lawmakers passed a statewide Freelance Isn’t Free Act, providing protections to workers employed as independent contractors. This new state law will mirror the NYC law with the same name that has provided protections for New York City independent contractors since May 2017. The amendments to New York Labor Law will provide a recourse to freelance workers experiencing wage theft and other violations under the law.
Lawful Absences Protected from ‘No-Fault’ Attendance Policies
New York lawmakers passed an amendment to the Labor Law that prohibits employers who maintain “no fault” attendance policies from assessing points or demerits for absences or otherwise disciplining employees who have used any absence protected under federal, state, or local law. This specifically includes assessing any “points” or “demerits” under any absence control policy that could subject an employee to any disciplinary action. The effect of this amendment is that if employers discipline workers by assessing “points” when an employee has used any legally protected absence, then it will constitute retaliation under the Labor Law.
Amendment to HERO Act – Workplace Safety Committees
New York lawmakers passed an amendment to the NYS HERO Act in relation to employer violations of certain provisions allowing for workplace safety committees. Under the HERO Act, employees are permitted to form workplace safety committees that can monitor and review workplace safety practices. The amendment requires employers to recognize such a committee within five days of receiving a request from employees for committee recognition. Employers are subject to fines of up to $50 per day for failure to comply.
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