The New York State Department of Labor has announced proposed regulations for on-call employees, claiming their purpose is to provide more predictable schedules for low-earning employees. They’re supposed to retain flexibility for employers, but in practice they may require significant changes for some businesses.
The proposed changes include requirements that employees receive 14 days’ advance notice for scheduling; receive two hours of extra pay for last-minute assignments; and receive at least four hours of so-called reporting pay for (1) cancellations less than 72 hours before their shift starts, (2) assignments noticed less than 14 days in advance, and (3) any on-call shifts that require workers to be on stand-by.
These changes won’t apply to employees during the first two weeks of their employment and don’t apply to employees who earn more than the equivalent of 40 hours per week at minimum wage. This means that many employees who work at least 40 hours per week or who earn more than minimum wage won’t be covered by the new regulations. Instead, the regs seem designed to protect part-timers and those with on-again/off-again work schedules.
There are a few other exceptions to the reach of these newly-proposed rules. For example, an employee who volunteers to cover a shift with less than 14 days’ notice needn’t receive two hours of extra pay. There’s also an exception for employers who must cancel a shift without 72 hours’ advance notice due to an act of God or another cause outside of their control such as a state of emergency.
The proposed regs are slated to be published in the State Register November 22, 2017 and then will be open for the 45-day public comment period after which the State will finalize them, likely sometime in 2018.
New York employers may wish to explore the regs in more detail for planning purposes and add their voice during the public comment period.