January 18, 2024

Budget Time

Last week Governor Hochul gave her Executive Budget presentation.  While your Chamber Advocacy team is still reviewing the numerous budget proposals,  we are pleased that the governor included two priorities of the Chamber.  First, the budget proposes to sunset the State’s COVID-19 Sick Leave Law. Current law guarantees paid leave benefits for New Yorkers due to COVID-related mandatory and precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation. New York, unlike other states, continues to maintain this legislation that mandates an additional minimum of five days of paid sick leave per quarantine period. With the worst of COVID behind us, readily available and effective vaccines, and COVID treatments, it is necessary to take action to end COVID paid leave requirements.  Second, the budget proposes to amend the Labor Law to limit plaintiffs’ recovery of liquidated damages for violations of the frequency of payment provisions in the Labor Law where employees were paid regularly on at least a semi-monthly basis. Under Labor Law §191, employers are required to pay “manual” workers on a weekly basis; however, most employers are unaware of this little-known and archaic statute. Failure to comply with this law can subject an employer to a private right of action and liquidated damages equal to half of all wages paid up to 6 years (the statute of limitation), plus interest and attorneys’ fees.  This budget proposal would clarify that, the Labor Law does not entitle a plaintiff to 100 percent liquidated damages if they were paid at least semi-monthly thereby avoiding unnecessary financial harm to employers. For more details please see the EXECUTIVE BUDGET