New York Employment Law Update – December 2018

New York

New York City For-Hire Vehicle Drivers Earnings

On December 4, 2018, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) announced the passage if its Driver Income and Transparency Rules to increase the earnings of for-hire vehicle (FHV) drivers who work for large app-based car service companies and provide benefits for other drivers.

The rules set a per-minute and per-mile minimum trip payment formula for drivers who work for the highest volume FHV service providers in New York City. The companies must pay those drivers at least the regulated minimum for each trip they dispatch and, as of December 6, 2018, drivers will have access to a Driver Pay Calculator that will help them determine the earnings they are due. Other highlights of the new rules are as follows:

  • High volume FHV drivers will earn at a minimum a trip pay standard that is the equivalent of $27.86 per hour, or $17.22 per hour after expenses, the minimum wage standard for independent contractors who pay additional payroll taxes and do not get paid time off.
  • The majority of drivers who work for large app-based car service companies in New York City will receive almost a $10,000 per year raise. These drivers previously had no earnings or minimum wage protections.
  • High volume FHV drivers will receive higher minimum pay for wheelchair accessible vehicles to account for the additional expense of operating these vehicles. The rules also set new minimum pay rates for out-of-town trips, where drivers spend greater time without a passenger while returning to New York City.
  • More wheelchair accessible taxi owners will be able to receive payments of $14,000 a year when a car is put on the road, and then $4,000 a year while in service. A typical accessible taxi driver now earns an additional $1,700 a year.
  • Drivers will receive detailed pay and deduction information, as well as lease information, that is written in plain language and specifies all costs, and receipts that itemize all deductions and charges.
  • The rules reduce the maximum amount that taxi fleets can charge drivers for credit card processing.

The new rules are anticipated to go into effect in mid-January 2019.

Read the press release and the rules

Suffolk County RISE Act

On August 5, 2018, the County Legislature of Suffolk passed the Restricting Information on Salaries and Earnings Act (RISE Act) prohibiting employers in Suffolk County from inquiring about a job applicant’s wage or salary history, including his or her compensation or benefits, during the hiring process. For act purposes, to inquire is to ask an applicant or former employer verbally, in writing, or otherwise, or to conduct a search of publicly available records or reports.

The RISE Act is effective on June 30, 2019.

Read the act

New York City Expands Protections and Rights for Lactating Workers

On November 17, 2018, the New York City Council passed two initiatives (Int. 879-2018 and Int. 905-2018) amending N.Y.C. Admin. Code §§ 8-102 and 8-107(22) and thus expand workplace protections for lactating mothers. Specifically, New York City employers are required to:

  • Designate a lactation room according to Int. 879-2018:
    • A lactation room is a sanitary place, other than a restroom, that can be used to express breast milk shielded from view and free from intrusion. The room must include, at a minimum, an electrical outlet, a chair, a surface on which to place a breast pump and other personal items, and nearby access to running water. Employers also must provide a refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage, which along with the lactation room, must be within reasonable proximity to the employee’s work area.
    • An appropriately furnished lactation room must be provided upon an employee’s request, but it may also be used for other purposes when an employee is not using it to express milk. However, employers must provide notice to employees that the lactation room’s use for expressing milk takes priority over its use for any other purposes.
    • If providing a compliant lactation room would impose an undue hardship on an employer, the employer must engage in a cooperative dialogue with the employee(s) requesting it so as to determine if a reasonable accommodation is available.
  • Implement and provide a lactation accommodation policy according to Int. 905-2018:
    • Employers must provide employees with a written policy informing them of their lactation accommodation rights, which must include a statement that employees have a right to request the use of a lactation room.
    • The written policy must also include:
      • The process an employee must utilize to make a request for a lactation room.
      • That the employer will respond to a request for a lactation room within a reasonable amount of time, but no more than five days.
      • A procedure for when two or more individuals need to use the lactation room at the same time, including contact information for any necessary follow-up questions.
      • That the employer will provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk (per N.Y. Labor Law § 206-c).
      • That if providing a lactation room will impose an undue hardship on the employer, the employer will engage in a cooperative dialogue with the employee.

Employers must distribute the required lactation accommodation policy to all employees upon hire. The New York City Commission on Human Rights is in the process of creating a model policy and lactation request form.

These amendments are effective March 18, 2019.

Read Int. 879-2018 and Int. 905-2018