Hearing held on new on-call regulations in NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A few months ago, the Department of Labor and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced they would be implementing new regulations requiring that on-call employees still get paid, even if they don’t end up working.

The regulations are still in the public comment phase, so a Senate hearing was held today to discuss the impact this will have on businesses.

“Another burdensome regulation that stifles growth and economic opportunity,” Sen. George Amedore (R-Schenectady, Albany) said.

“It will do one thing, in my opinion, kill jobs and kill opportunities,” Sen. Frederick Akshar (R-Binghamton) said.

With more and more people leaving the state, the senators say they are worried about how these new regulations will affect small businesses. Companies already have to absorb the added costs of a higher minimum wage and the new Paid Family Leave Act. Even though job growth is rising across the nation, the same is not being seen in Upstate New York.

“The city of Binghamton, the largest city I represent, in Senate District 52, has lost jobs,” Akshar said.

“We are hurting, we are. There is a lot of worry about what this kind of mandate could do to their operations in a state where it’s already difficult to run and grow a business,” Greg Biryla, Executive Director of Unshackle Upstate, said.

The Department of Labor was invited to the hearing to testify, but they declined the offer.

“The fact that the Labor Department is not here to defend this rule change is extremely telling because I don’t think they can defend it,” Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Saratoga) said.

“Really, I don’t think they care about the legislative process and the democracy in the way that we’re supposed to conduct ourselves in the state,” Sen. Amedore said.

One of the suggestions brought up is to have these regulations apply only to larger companies and exempt small businesses. The committee is also asking that the comment period be extended.

“Now the Governor wants a one size fits all labor regulation that is simply unfair to a major group of employers,” Senator Richard Funke (R-East Rochester) said.

There is not much the legislature can do to stop things from moving forward. Labor unions have widely supported these regulations saying that it is necessary for people to have their schedule two weeks in advance so that they can plan child-care or work a second job.

If these proposed regulations are passed, New York will have the most restrictive on call regulations in the nation.

NEWS10 ABC reached out to the Department of Labor, but have not received a response yet.

The public comment period goes until Monday, January 8th. Click here to add your comments about on-call scheduling.

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