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Stay ahead of the curve

Ever-changing regulations have created challenges for businesses. Issues of paid sick leave, overtime, and immigration (Form I-9) have dominated state and local legislatures in 2018, and more than 125 pieces of legislation on sexual harassment prevention have been introduced.

New Regulation Update
In 2018, New York state expanded employer requirements, offering protection from sexual harassment for non-employees including independent contractors. Employers must also adopt and distribute a sexual harassment prevention policy that meets the state’s minimum standards including an internal complaint form, and by Oct. 9, 2019 conduct compliant interactive sexual harassment prevention training for all employees. New employees should be trained as soon as possible. This training must be conducted annually.
The Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act became law in May 2018, expanding protection under the New York City Human Rights Law to employees and independent contractors working for businesses of any size. Businesses that employ 15 or more employees or independent contractors in NYC must conduct annual participatory anti-sexual harassment training for all employees and independent contractors. Also, an internal reporting process for complaints must be established. Employees now have three years after an alleged act to file a claim with the Commission on Human Rights. As of Sept. 6, 2018, the “Stop Sexual Harassment Notice” needs to be displayed in common areas accessible to employees in English and in Spanish, and all new employees must receive the mandated fact sheet upon hire.
The city’s paid sick leave Law was recently renamed the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act to reflect amendments that expanded the law to provides paid time off to individuals who they themselves or a family member have been a victim of domestic violence, sexual crimes, and human trafficking to address next steps (visits to court, police, doctors, etc.). New requirements include the timing of the mandatory distribution of the company paid safe and sick leave policy as well as an expanded definition of family member.
Employers – no matter the size of business – must provide eligible employees up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employees may use accrued time for their own illness or to care for a covered family member. Accrued paid sick leave may also be used to make next-step plans (visits to court, police, doctors) by an employee who is a victim of sexual or domestic abuse or to assist a family member who has been a victim of such abuse. Leave could also include time attend school-related meeting or if public health official closes workplace, school, or childcare facility. Records of hours worked and earned sick time used per employee must be kept for five years.
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