Employment Bills to Watch as New York’s Legislative Session Closes

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Synopsis: At the close of the New York State legislative session on June 2, 2022, the Senate and Assembly passed a variety of employment-related bills that are now waiting to be delivered to Governor Kathy Hochul.  If enacted, these bills would require employers to disclose salary ranges in job postings, notify warehouse workers of quotas, and provide written contracts to freelance workers.  The bills would also increase fines imposed for an employer’s lethal negligence, prevent employers from punishing employees for taking legally-protected absences, and require employees to recognize the establishment of workplace safety committees.

New York State’s legislative session ended on Thursday, June 2, 2022, with over 1,000 bills passed by both chambers.  What follows is a brief overview of select employment-related bills that will soon be delivered to Governor Kathy Hochul, who will have 30 days to act on each piece of legislation.

Salary Range Disclosures: Similar to New York City’s pay transparency law enacted earlier this year and amended in May, the Senate and Assembly have passed a bill that would require businesses with four or more employees to include the range of compensation for any job, promotion, or transfer opportunity they advertise.  Employers will also have to provide a description of each advertised job, promotion, or transfer opportunity, if such description exists.  The bill casts a wide net, covering any position that may be performed, at least in part, in New York.  The law will take effect 270 days after enactment.  Watch for a more detailed alert to follow.

Warehouse Worker Protection Act: This bill applies to employers that operate warehouse distribution centers in New York.  Covered entities must provide each warehouse employee with notice of any quota and are prohibited from instituting quotas that would prevent employees from taking legally-protected breaks.  See here for further details on the Act, which will take effect 60 days after enactment.

Freelance Isn’t Free Act: Building upon New York City’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act, enacted in 2016, the State’s bill seeks to establish and enhance freelance workers’ rights.  The bill would require freelance workers to be provided with a written contract.  It also states that freelance workers must be paid either on or before the date compensation is due per the contract, or, if the contract does not set forth a payment date, within 30 days after the completion of services.  The bill will take effect 180 days after becoming law and will only apply to contracts entered into on or after the effective date.

Carlos’ Law: This bill, dubbed Carlos’ Law after the victim of an industrial accident, will make corporations criminally responsible for the underlying criminal conduct of their agents that results in the death or injury of a worker.  Fines range from $300,000 to $1 million.  The bill will take effect 30 days after becoming law.

No Punishment for Lawful Absences: This bill clarifies that workers may not be punished or disciplined for taking legally-protected absences.  Among other things, the bill prohibits an employer from assessing points or deductions from an employee’s time bank when such employee has used a legally-protected absence.  The legislation will take effect 90 days after becoming law.

Penalties for Violations of Workplace Safety Committees: This bill requires employers to recognize workplace safety committees within five days of their establishment.  Employers that violate this bill will face penalties of at least $50 per day until the violation is remedied.  Once signed, the bill will take effect immediately.

Seyfarth will continue to monitor and report on the status of these various bills.  In the meantime, please reach out to the authors of this alert or another Seyfarth contact if you wish to discuss any of these recent developments.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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