Labor & Employment Blog



As part of the recently passed 2017 New York State Budget, more union members in New York will now be able to deduct their dues on their state tax returns.  The deduction will save approximately 500,000 New York union workers about $70 a year, so it will cost the State around $35 million annually.


Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow employees at private companies to choose to receive compensatory time instead of overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.  The option would be available to those who have worked more than 1,000 for their employer. 

Proponents of the bill argue that it allows for more flexibility for employees and especially working parents, while opponents claim this bill would allow employers with less than benevolent intentions to take advantage of their workers. 


Last week, New York City joined the growing list of cities banning employers from asking job applicants about their current or past pay rates. The rationale is that employers base the salaries they offer to potential employees on their current or previous salary and thus, if an employee faced pay discrimination in a previous job, it would perpetuate pay discrimination.  If an employer is already aware of a prospective employee’s past salary, the legislation prohibits them from using such information to determine the salary. 


In January 2017, New York Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 162 requiring employers who have prime contracts with the State in excess of $25,000 to report data quarterly on the gender, race, ethnicity, job title, and salary for all those employees working on the contract (or all employees if it cannot be determined which employees work on the contract and which do not).


Age discrimination claims are nothing new, but experts believe this type of claim will be on the rise over the next few decades.  Americans are working longer than they used to, and the number of Americans 65 or older is expected to double its 2015 numbers by 2060. 


At a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference this week, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum said the EEOC will continue to follow its recent strategic enforcement plan released in October, including prioritizing cases in areas such as LGBT protection against sex-based discrimination.  Feldman acknowledged that some changes might be made under the Trump Administration, but did not specify what, if any, changes she was referring to. 


As of January 1, 2018, employees in New York will be entitled to 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for an infant (first year after adoption or birth) or for a family member (child, parent or grandparent) with a serious health condition, or to relieve family pressures when someone (spouse, child, domestic partner or parent) is called to active military service. Recently, proposed regulations were released regarding employee rights, eligibility, coverage, phase-in schedule and other information.


The New York State Department of Labor recently drafted regulations that affected how employers pay their employees.  These pending regulations were supposed to go into effect on March 7, 2017, but have now been revoked.


On February 14, a House of Representatives subcommittee heard arguments on whether to peel back some of the National Labor Relations Board actions taken under the Obama administration, including the controversial union election rules and joint employer liability expansion.  Lawmakers heard from both employers and union advocates.   The hearing was called, “Restoring Balance and Fairness to the National Labor Relations Board.”  Subcommittee Chair Tim Walberg (R-MI) said that in the weeks and months ahead, the subcommittee will do everything they can to “turn back this failed, activist agend


A national Right-To-Work bill now pending in Congress, allowing employees in union workplaces to opt out of the union and its dues, is being given its best chance ever of passage. President Trump has indicated his support for the bill, and Republican control of both houses of Congress helps the bill's odds.  However, the Democrats still have the ability to filibuster the bill if they remain united, so Republicans are reaching across the aisle for defectors.