November 27, 2019

EMPLOYER UPDATE: The Top 5 Employment Law Updates of 2019

Here are the top 5 employment law updates of 2019 that every employer and business owner needs to be aware of.

Have an employee that left your company recently? The ⏰ is ticking.

All employers must provide departing employees with a written statement listing the date of separation AND the date of cancellation of the employee's benefits.

  • This is mandatory, regardless of their reason for leaving the company (termination, resignation, lay-off, etc).
  • Employers have 5 days to mail this to the former employee after separation.
  • Don't forget to fill out the top of the "Record of Employment" form as well when an employee is leaving.

The race to 2020 is in full swing! ? But, before Election Day hits, all employers should be aware of changes in election laws.

Employers must provide employees who are registered to vote, up to THREE HOURS of paid leave in order to hit the polls.

  • Leave can be taken either at the beginning or end of their shift.
  • Employees must notify their employer at least two days before Election Day, if they decide to take their leave.
  • Whether employees have time outside of working hours to vote or not, they are permitted paid leave by their employer.
  • Failure to grant paid leave is a criminal misdemeanor.

Have you begun the exhausting hiring process for an open position? ? What is one question that’s off limits when interviewing potential applicants?

You CANNOT ask how much an applicant made at their last job. 

  • In July 2019, Gov. Cuomo signed a law that prohibits employers from asking prospective employees about their salary history.
  • The purpose behind this law is to stop employers from perpetuating gender based discrimination that may have begun with a previous employer. Thus, an employer cannot base an employee's salary on what they made at their last position.
  • This is part of a larger effort to push for equal pay for women.

? The #MeToo Movement has exposed just about every industry, making employers truly question their workplace culture and policies. Make sure your sexual harassment training program is fully up to date.

Employers in New York have been required to:

  • Provide employees with a sexual harassment training program that complies with state standards.
  • Have their employees be retrained on an annual basis.
  • Distribute a written sexual harassment policy to all employees containing information about new laws and guidance on the complaint process.

The employer sexual harassment training program must:

  • Clearly define sexual harassment.
  • Cite examples of conduct that would classify as sexual harassment.
  • Provide information about federal and state statutory provisions regarding sexual harassment and the remedies that are available to victims.
  • Contain information about an employee's right of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints.

? Payday coming up? All employers should be aware of the items that can and cannot be deducted from an employee's paycheck…

In New York, employers CANNOT deduct money from an employee’s paycheck for items such as:

  • Cash shortages
  • Inventory shortages
  • Loss of property
  • Damage to property
  • To pay for required tools or uniforms

However, employers CAN deduct money from an employee’s paycheck for items such as:

  • Insurance premiums
  • Union dues
  • Gym or health center membership dues 
  • Contributions to charitable organizations

Employees must voluntarily authorize these deductions in writing, after they receive a written notice from their employer of all terms and conditions of the deduction.


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