2020 State of the State Proposals

Cuomo Puts Forward Mandatory Paid Sick Leave and Reforms to Help the Gig Economy

STATE OF THE STATE

When it comes to laws and regulations that impact employers in New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has seemingly been less ambitious with introducing sweeping change in 2020 than in past years. While his 2020 State of the State message does contain several proposals that, if enacted, would have an effect on employers, there is nothing in these proposals quite as sweeping as paid family leave (2016) or the regulations for preventing workplace harassment (2019).

Proposed Paid, Job Protected Sick Leave

Far from being finalized the proposal would require that nearly all employers in the state provide their employees with job-protected paid sick leave. The initial proposal would be as follows:

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  • Employers with 100 or more employees would have to offer 7 days of paid, job protected sick leave per year
  • Employers with between 5-99 employees would have to offer 5 days of paid job protected sick leave per year
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees would have to offer 5 days of job protected sick leave per year, though the leave can be unpaid.

It is important to note this is only the initial proposal and includes few additional details and is subject to change. The good news for employers is that many organizations already offer some type of paid sick leave, and per the state of the state proposal, “Businesses already providing paid sick leave will be able to continue their current practices. “

It should also be noted that several municipalities in the state, most notably New York City, already have their own mandatory paid sick leave regulations in effect.

Reforms for the “Gig Economy”

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In recent years thanks to companies such as Uber, Lyft, InstaCart, Postmates, GrubHub, and others, there has been a rise in jobs in the so called “gig economy,” based on the idea that someone can freelance, work when they want, etc. Due to the way many of these organizations operate there has been confusion as to whether people who perform work through these services are employees, independent contractors, or something else.  Under existing employment law these individuals have been treated as independent contractors, and while the Governor’s proposal doesn’t include specific measures, it seems likely that the reforms could lead to changes in how independent contractors and employees are defined, which could have broader implications for any organization that utilizes independent contractors.

HR One will provide updates as needed on these issues and any others that emerge as the legislative session and state budget negotiations get under way.

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