Legal Alert: Round-up of Recent Updates to New York Employment and Charitable Registration Laws



Westchester County Enacts Safe Leave Law Providing Paid Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking

Westchester County, New York has enacted a new law called the “Safe Time Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking” or the “Safe Time Leave Law.” The law will go into effect on or about October 30, 2019 and requires employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid time off each year to employees who are victims of domestic violence or human trafficking. Eligible employees may use paid safe time to attend and/or testify in a criminal or civil court proceeding related to domestic violence or human trafficking, and/or move to a safe location.

The Partnership will provide more information about this new law closer to its effective date. Interested employers also may want to register for our June 11 webinar “The Ins and Outs of New York Leave Laws,” which will include a discussion of the Safe Time Leave Law.  

New York State Changes Election Law to Allow Employees Up To Three Hours Paid Time Off to Vote

Effective now, New York employees may request up to three hours of paid time off (PTO) in order to vote in any election. An employer may stipulate that the PTO occur at the beginning or the end of an employee’s shift. An employer can also require that employees make their PTO request at least two days in advance of the need for the time off.

Prior to this change, New York employers were required to give an employee two hours of PTO to vote if the employee did not have four consecutive hours off to vote either before the polls opened and the employee’s shift began, or between the end of the employee’s shift and the polls closing.

What should employers do now?

  • Update your policies to reflect this change in the law.
  • Train HR representatives and managers about this new requirement.

Suffolk County, New York Enacts Salary History Ban

Effective June 30, 2019, employers with four or more employees in Suffolk County, New York can no longer ask job applicants, verbally or in writing, to disclose their wage or salary history. This means that employers may not ask about an applicant’s prior compensation and/or benefits, nor can they search public records to learn such information about an applicant. The law also prohibits employers from using a job applicant’s prior salary history to determine the wage or salary amount for that person at any point in the employment relationship.

There is an exception in the new law that allows employers to inquire into an applicant’s salary history pursuant to any federal, state, or local law that requires the disclosure or verification of salary for employment purposes, or pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

What should employers do now?

  • Review your relevant documentation, including employment applications, and remove any questions relating to an applicant’s salary and benefits history.
  • Train HR representatives, supervisors, and any other employees who might interview a job applicant that they may not ask any questions about salary and benefits history.

New York City Releases Free Training Tool for Sexual Harassment Prevention Compliance

In conjunction with the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act,” New York City has created a free online sexual harassment training tool that can be used by employers to comply with the training requirements of the city’s law. The New York City training tool also meets the New York State sexual harassment prevention training requirements.

Changes to Mandated Statements in Written Solicitation Materials

Most charities that solicit contributions in New York State are required to: (1) register with the Charities Bureau of the Office of the New York State Attorney General; (2) file annual financial reports with the Charities Bureau; and (3) include certain statements in their written solicitation materials.  In March 2019, this third requirement changed slightly.

Charities that are registered with the Charities Bureau to solicit contributions in New York State now must include the following statements in all of their written solicitation materials:

  • A statement that, upon request, a copy of the charity’s most recently filed financial report with the Attorney General’s office can be obtained from the charity or from the office of the Attorney General. The statement must include the address of both the charity and the Attorney General’s office where the report can be requested. (This was already the law and has not changed.)  
  • A statement that the charity’s most recently filed financial report also can be obtained from the charities registry on the Attorney General’s website. (This is new.)
  • A statement identifying the website and telephone number of the New York State Office of the Attorney General where an individual can receive information on charities. (This is also new.)

These statements must be conspicuous, using a bolded font that is at least ten point type, or alternatively, no smaller than the size print used for the most number of words in the solicitation.

Example:
A copy of our most recently filed financial report is available from the Charities Registry on the New York State Attorney General’s website (www.charitiesnys.com) or, upon request, by contacting the New York State Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 28 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10005, or us at [CHARITY’S ADDRESS].  You also may obtain information on charitable organizations from the New York State Office of the Attorney General at www.charitiesnys.com  or (212) 416-8401.

All written solicitations also must include a clear description of the programs and activities for which the solicited funds will be used, or a statement that, upon request, a person can obtain such a description from the charity.

What should charities do now?

  • If your organization is registered to solicit charitable funds in New York, review and update all written charitable solicitation materials to include these required statements.
  • If your organization is not registered to solicit charitable funds in New York and you’re unsure whether you’re required to do so, review the registration requirements on the New York State Attorney General’s website. You can also contact Pro Bono Partnership with questions.