Employment Law This Week: New York Employee Scheduling Regulations, NLRB General Counsel Confirmed, Decrease in EEOC Charge Backlog, New Local $15 Minimum Wage Law
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This week’s stories include ...
(1) New York Announces New Employee Scheduling Regulations
Our top story: Statewide employee scheduling rules are coming to New York. The state Labor Department is advancing regulations limiting on-call and just-in-time scheduling. The proposed rules require additional pay for employees scheduled on short notice, but would not prohibit the practice altogether. While the regulations appear to primarily target retailers, who commonly use on-call scheduling, they will impact other industries as well. Here’s Jeff Landes from Epstein Becker Green with more:
“Arguably these proposed regulations are driven by targeting the retail industry in the fast foods industry because these are historically the industries that have utilized more unpredictable scheduling models. It is very noteworthy that these proposed regulations are part of the minimum wage order for miscellaneous industries and occupations, which means that they apply to employers well beyond just the retail industry and the fast foods industry. … This will be a significant change. For employers that utilize IT shift workers who are frequently on calls, such as help desk support, you're now going to have to comply with these new rules as well.”
(2) Senate Confirms White House Nominee for NLRB General Counsel
Management-side labor lawyer Peter Robb has been confirmed as the next National Labor Relations Board General Counsel. The Board’s General Counsel serves a critical policy role at the Labor Board, deciding which issues to pursue in investigations and litigation. Robb is expected to move away from the expansive agenda of his predecessor in many areas, including the broadened joint-employer standard. An accomplished attorney, Robb played a key role in the Reagan Administration’s response to the air traffic controllers union strike, which resulted in their firing - a pivotal event in the modern history of labor relations.
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(3) EEOC Touts Major Decrease in Charge Backlog
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says its charge backlog has dropped to a ten-year low. Last week, the agency released its fiscal year 2017 Performance and Accountability Report highlighting its work over the past year. According to the report, the EEOC resolved 99,109 charges, and reduced the charge workload by 16.2 percent, bringing its total workload to just over 61,000 charges. The agency filed 184 merit lawsuits, more than double the 2016 number, and recovered approximately $484 million dollars for parties charging workplace discrimination. This includes $355 million in settlements and other administrative enforcement and $42 million through litigation.
(4) Montgomery County, Maryland: Latest to Implement $15 Minimum Wage
A $15 dollar minimum wage on the way in Montgomery County, Maryland. Montgomery County joins neighboring Washington, DC, in implementing the $15 dollar minimum. Two states and at least six other jurisdictions have enacted similar measures. Montgomery County’s law establishes a slower path to $15 than DC, with large employers reaching that level in 2021. The law also allows for an "opportunity wage" of 85 percent of the minimum wage for employees under 20 years old in their first six months of employment.
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(5) Tip of the Week
Barbara Harris, Senior Labor & Employment Editor at Thomson Reuters Practical Law, discusses the patchwork of state and local paid sick leave laws. Until the federal government passes a fix, like the preemption law we discussed on last week’s show, this will remain a concern for employers:
“Drafting a legally compliant paid sick leave policy has become one of the biggest headaches for multi-jurisdictional employers, but there are several steps they can take when embarking on this task. First they need to understand the applicable state and local sick leave laws wherever they have employees. Next they need to decide whether to have a generic PTO or paid time off policy or a specific sick leave policy that just covers the uses under the applicable laws. This may depend on where the employees are located and how many jurisdictions they have employees working in. Sometimes the best starting place for employers is to use their existing policies. Those policies may really be more compliant with existing, with the applicable laws than they thought.”