More Pay Transparency Laws

Our last edition focused on the new pay transparency law in New York City.  The New York State Legislature passed Senate Bill 9427A, which would impose salary disclosure requirements similar to those issued in New York City.  The bill would require employers to disclose the compensation or a range of compensation (i.e., the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly range of compensation) for each job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that can or will be performed, at least in part, in New York State. 

In addition, the New York State law would require the posting to include a job description, if such a description exists.  The bill also includes anti-retaliation language that states that “[n]o employer shall refuse to interview, hire, promote, employ or otherwise retaliate against an applicant or current employee for exercising any rights under this section.” 

If the Governor signs the bill, it would take effect 270 days later.  Non-compliant employers shall, thereafter, be subject to civil penalties of up to $1,000 for a first violation, $2,000 for a second violation, and $3,000 for a third or subsequent violation. 

Other localities in New York, in addition to New York City, have enacted or introduced pay transparency legislation, including:

  • amended § 215-3 of its city code to require employers with four or more employees based in Ithaca to disclose the “minimum and maximum hourly or salary compensation” in job postings. The ordinance goes into effect September 1, 2022.
  • amending § 700.03 of the county’s Human Rights Law, that requires employers to include a salary range when posting job opportunities and restricts inquiry into prospective employees’ wage history. The requirements apply to employers with four or more employees who post for positions that are “required to be performed, in whole or in part, in Westchester County.” The law goes into effect early November 2022.
  • introduced a law amending the Albany County Omnibus Human Rights Law to require employers to provide the minimum and maximum salary or hourly wage on job postings. The law is pending further review by legislature committees.

S8922A Warehouse Worker Protection Act

The New York Legislature passed Senate Bill S8922A, known as the Warehouse Worker Protection Act, on June 3, 2022. Should the Governor sign the bill, the law would require warehouse distribution centers—which include those that employ 100 or more employees at a single center or 500 or more employees at centers throughout New York State—to provide their employees written descriptions of work-related quotas they are expected to meet.

Work-related quotas are defined as standards that mandate, within a defined time period, an employee’s specified productivity speed, quantified number of tasks, or quantified amount of material to be handled or produced. The law would prohibit quotas that interfere with required meal or rest periods or use of bathroom facilities.

The bill also imposes recordkeeping requirements on employers and includes a right to request for current and former employees to obtain certain records, such as written descriptions of quotas that affected the employees. Employers would also be subject to the bill’s anti-retaliation provision.

The law would take effect 60 days after the Governor signs the bill. Civil penalties issued for non-compliance could be up to $1,000 for the first violation, $2,000 for a second violation, and $3,000 for all subsequent violations.

Expanding Protections for Freelancers: Freelance Isn’t Free Act

Both the New York State Senate and the State Assembly have passed Bill S83698, expanding on a 2017 New York City specific version of the Freelance Isn’t Free Act. The previous bill established a legal definition for freelance labor in New York City and aimed to help freelancers resolve payment issues with their clients. S83698 expands the protections for freelancers state-wide and provides coverage to freelancers who live in other states but conduct business with New York based companies.

The recent act will mandate “that any hiring party across the state retaining a freelancer’s services for at least $250 provide such freelancer with a detailed written contract and timely and full payment.” If the contract does not specify a “timely manner,” then the hiring party must pay the contracted party “no later than thirty days after the completion of the freelance worker’s services under the contract.” Additionally, the bill contains an anti-retaliation provision to further protect freelance workers.

The new legislation comes as a response to the many unlawful payment practices complaints filed by freelance workers amidst the COVID lockdown.  Independent contractors, unlike regular employees, are not protected by the same minimum wage laws and are generally not eligible for unemployment and workers compensation.

The bill is set to be delivered to the Governor for either a signature or veto. If the Governor signs the bill, it will take effect 180 days later.  A violation of any of the law’s provisions may result in penalties up to $25,000.