Employers Be Aware of Recent Amendments to New York Labor and Employment Laws

August 24, 2009

By: Louis P. DiLorenzo

Despite our State Legislature’s distractions this summer, it continues to crank out laws which further regulate New York employers. Here are some recent changes about which employers should be aware.

On July 28, 2009, New York State Labor Law 195(1) was amended to require employers to provide all new employees hired on or after October 26, 2009 with written notice of their rates of pay and the employer’s regular pay days. See our August 11, 2009 blog post for details.

Some other notifications required by New York Law include:


  • Terms of employment between an employer and commissioned salesperson must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement must include a description of how wages, salary, drawing account, commissions and all other monies earned and payable will be calculated.
  • Employees must be notified in writing or by public posting of the employer’s policy on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays and hours.
  • Employers must notify employees of any changes in pay days prior to such changes.
  • Employers must also notify employees of the date of termination and exact date of termination of employee benefits. The notice must be in writing and be given within 5 working days after termination.

Effective July 7, 2009, the New York State Human Rights Law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who are victims of domestic violence. See our August 3, 2009 blog post for details on this new law.

Additionally, employers should keep in mind that as of July 6, 2009, the Human Rights Law provides for civil fines and penalties, payable to the State, of up to $50,000 for unlawful discriminatory acts, and up to $100,000 for willful, wanton or malicious discrimination. Our July 20, 2009 blog post describes that amendment.

Finally, an amendment to the New York State Insurance Law “mini-COBRA” provisions, creates an extension of the general continuation under a group health plan for covered employees from 18 months to 36 months following termination of employment. The law applies retroactively to insurance policies and contracts issue, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after July 1, 2009, but does not apply to self-funded group health plans. Although New York’s mini-COBRA statute generally covers insurance plans of employers with fewer than 20 employees, this 36 month continuation period will apply to all New York group insurance policies regardless of employer size. Therefore, if federal COBRA coverage is exhausted, qualified beneficiaries can extend coverage under New York law for an additional 18-month period up to a total of 36 months following the date of the beginning of federal COBRA coverage.