New York News & Analysis

  • Getting back to 'normal'? Here are some points to consider

    As employers look to a postpandemic recovery, they're shifting their attention toward getting back to "normal." But normal isn't what it used to be, and you now have to focus on keeping employees healthy—and keeping your operations legally compliant. It's not going to be as simple as telling people to resume their work as they did before COVID-19 struck. Thoughts of personal protective equipment (PPE), engineering and administrative controls, discrimination risks, and more are now front and center.

  • Pandemic sparks unexpected question: What if workers unwilling to return?

    Restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to ease in many parts of the country, and employers are starting to call back the millions of workers who joined the ranks of the unemployed a few months ago. Many workers are champing at the bit to get back to work, but others are hesitant. And that can put already-struggling employers in a bind.

  • Federal Watch

    OSHA reminds employers against retaliation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers that it is illegal to retaliate against workers because they report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Retaliation can include terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotions, or reductions in pay or hours. The agency stresses that workers have a right to file whistleblower complaints if they believe their employer has retaliated against them for exercising their rights under whistleblower protection laws.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    HR pros respond to crisis by linking laid-off workers with employers. As unemployment soared past record highs during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some HR professionals and their organizations launched efforts to bring together companies laying off or furloughing employees with companies in urgent need of workers. People + Work Connect was designed by chief HR officers from Accenture, Lincoln Financial Group, ServiceNow, and Verizon, according to an announcement from Accenture. The People + Work platform is designed to enable companies to share the experience and skills of their laid-off or furloughed workers with other companies on the platform that are seeking workers. Censia also announced its ReadyToHire initiative, which allows companies to add their displaced employees to a specialized website to help them find jobs with organizations that are hiring. In addition to allowing employers to put people on the ReadyToHire list, individuals can add their own names. The company's AI technology matches workers to open positions suitable for their skills. Both initiatives are free to use.

  • HR Technology

    New platform offers help navigating government relief programs. A company providing HR software announced a new platform in April aimed at helping employers navigate various COVID-19 government relief programs. Justworks launched the tax deferral feature and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reporting functionality as part of its COVID-19 relief center built into its software. The relief center enables customers to opt into deferring their employer-paid Social Security taxes and granting businesses access to more working capital to pay their people as early as their next payroll cycle. Organizations also can navigate to reporting, where they can generate a specialized PPP report for their PPP loan application as well as access other recently launched tools to schedule COVID-19-related paid leave for their employees and claim the applicable tax credits through the feature.

  • Is 'free' labor worth it?

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, whose decisions control New York employers, recently ruled on whether an individual who performed unpaid work for a nonprofit from which he received training and services can be considered an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for wage purposes. The new Second Circuit case, which builds on an earlier case involving unpaid interns, is a win for employers. The case could have turned out differently, however, based on other factors. Read on to understand what factors the appellate court thought were important to decide for the employer.

  • Second Circuit rules on overtime for FLSA-exempt employees

    Employees who are deemed exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are normally not entitled to overtime. In a recent case, the Second Circuit clarified longstanding confusion among the district courts over whether an FLSA-exempt employee was entitled to overtime compensation under the New York Labor Law (NYLL). This extremely troubling and important case is instructive regarding the interplay (and disconnect) between the FLSA and the NYLL on matters of overtime compensation.

  • Despite COVID-19 layoffs, some employers find ways to ease the blow

    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused employers to shed workers in unprecedented numbers. When businesses closed or drastically cut services, millions of workers lost paychecks. But some employers have taken steps to protect workers still on the job and provide relief for others on reduced schedules or out of work altogether.

  • Cybersecurity takes on even more importance during pandemic

    As COVID spring turns to COVID summer, many employees are growing accustomed to working from home. Thank goodness the technology exists to work remotely, but it's not as simple as just making sure employees have access to a computer and Internet connection at home. Cybersecurity must be a priority as well. The office is likely a more secure environment than an employee's home, so it's crucial employees know how to work safely in the new business "normal."

  • 5 employment policies to draft or redraft with coronavirus hindsight

    If you're like most businesses, you're eager to reopen or return to "normal" operations as soon as possible. But before you reopen your offices and businesses—and perhaps while you have some extra time on your hands—it's a good idea to dust off and update your employment policies to account for the new coronavirus world we now live in. Here are some of the key policies you may want to think about.