New Laws Signed on Labor Day by Governor Hochul Could Help Workers Get and Keep a Paycheck
Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of legislation on Labor Day to protect workers and also make sure they get paid. For example, one of the new laws will no longer disqualify workers for Unemployment Benefits when their hours are reduced. “The Shared Work Program” now provides employees supplementary U-I benefits due to seasonal hour reductions at businesses or other economic disruptions, such as the COVID pandemic.
CNY Labor Federation President AFL CIO Ann Marie Taliercio says now employees working reduced hours won’t be forced to look for another job.
“This supplement the weekly wages for the employee so that they can keep a job where the business is either seasonal or slowly coming back, as we are right now with the pandemic. And they don’t get behind in paying all their bills.”
Taliercio says it also means that employers will get to retain their workers in such sectors as hospitality and the hotel industry that haven’t fully recovered, yet. The program also allows for workers with reduced hours to apply for 26 weeks’ worth of benefits which could go beyond 26 weeks to reach.
Another labor law signed by Hochul requires construction contractors to be held liable when employees of their subcontractors don’t get paid. Taliercio says she helped a worker claim his earnings in just such a case.
“He worked for someone who was a private contractor under someone else. (He) had driven a truck and he had not gotten paid. And it was close the $3000.”
She also credits the help of Assembly-member Bill Magnarelli’s office in assisting the truck driver.
The Governor also signed legislation sponsored by Magnarelli to implement a pilot Speed Violation Monitoring System in Work Zones. We’ll have more on that tomorrow on All Things Considered.
Labor Day Legislation to Benefit New York's Workforce
Keeping Workers Safe
- This legislation (S.4682-B/A.485-B) establishes a demonstration program implementing speed violation monitoring systems in work zones by means of photo devices and relates to notices of liability and the adjudication of certain traffic infractions involving the use of photo monitoring devices.
Making Contractors Liable for Wages Paid to Their Subcontractors
- This legislation (A.3350-A/S.2766-C) makes contractors on construction projects jointly liable for wages owed to employees of their subcontractors. Construction contractors are not currently liable for wages of their subcontractors' employees unless there is an employment relationship between the contractor and the employee of the subcontractor.
Paying Prevailing Wage to Building Service Employees in Buildings Receiving the 467-A Tax Abatement
- This legislation (S.6350-A/A.7434-A) requires the payment of prevailing wage to building service employees at co-ops and condos that receive tax abatements under section 467a of the tax law. The law applies to buildings with an average unit assessed value of more than $60,000, with the exception of buildings that have an average unit assessed value of $60,000 to $100,000 and have fewer than 30 units. The New York State Department of Labor has the power to conduct an investigation and hearing and file a final determination to enforce the law and make sure employees are properly paid.
Extending Shared Work Benefits
- This legislation (S.4049/A.5678) changes the cap on Shared Work Benefits from 26 straight weeks to an amount of time equal to 26 weeks' worth of benefits. The shared work program allows employers to keep employees and avoid layoffs by allowing staff members to receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours.