This week, the State Senate unanimously adopted Senator Shelley B. Mayer’s bill, S.18A, to require the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) to increase outreach efforts about the Shared Work program. This important program allows workers to continue to work for their employer at reduced hours and collect proportional unemployment insurance benefits. The Shared Work program helps employers by reducing payroll expenses so they can stay afloat during this challenging time. This bill was part of a package of legislation to help small businesses survive the economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The full legislative package is described below.
S.18A requires the NYSDOL to increase their efforts to provide information to employers about Shared Work program eligibility and have information available on the Department’s website in order to expand the number of employers who choose to participate in this unique program.
Senator Shelley B. Mayer (SD-37, Westchester) said, “The Shared Work program offers a smart alternative to laying off valued employees, and it is especially suited to help small businesses weather downturns in the business cycle like the Coronavirus Pandemic. I was honored to work with the Westchester County Association and the DOL to promote the program in Westchester this fall, but we must get the word out around the state. The program helps employers keep employees on the payroll, while allowing staff members to receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits proportional to the number of reduced work hours. The program is a win-win for employers and employees. The cost of the program is fully funded by the federal CARES Act.”
Senator Mayer continued, “Small businesses in our communities are owned and operated by people who live, work and pay taxes in our communities. Ensuring small business owners have the support they need to weather the current crisis is pivotal to the success of our communities. The package of legislation adopted by the Senate Majority supports small businesses by: establishing an eviction and foreclosure moratorium for commercial tenants and freezing unemployment insurance premiums, among other measures.”
The bills adopted Senator Mayer and the Senate Majority include:
- Increased Outreach From DOL on the Shared Work Program (S.18A, Mayer): Creates a requirement for the Department of Labor to increase their efforts to provide information to employers about shared work program eligibility and have information available on the Department’s website. The shared work program can help reduce layoffs and is fully funded by the federal CARES Act.
- Small Business Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium (S.471A, Kaplan): Establishes the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Business Act to protect small businesses with COVID-19 related financial hardships from eviction and foreclosure until May 1.
- Restricting Third-Party Delivery Fees (S.1554B, Kavanagh): Creates a maximum limit for the total fee that can be charged to a food service establishment by a third-party food delivery service (such as Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates, Doordash, etc.).
- Freezing Employers Unemployment Insurance Premiums (S.1197, Persaud): Freezes New York State’s unemployment insurance experience rating for one year for layoffs and closures that occurred due to COVID-19. This action will prevent significant increases in costs to employers who have experienced higher unemployment rates in 2020.
- Partial Unemployment Insurance (S.1042A, Ramos): Establishes a system of partial-unemployment. This would shift the current calculation that any day of work leads to a 25% reduction in benefits, and instead would reduce benefits by an amount proportional with the amount earned. This legislation will help incentivize part-time work by reducing the disincentive that a day of work will lead to a disproportionate reduction of benefits.
- Third-Party Restaurant Posting (S.1630A, Savino): Prohibits any third party food delivery platform from listing, selling or advertising products of any food service establishment without a written agreement with them.
Click here to read more about the Senate Majority’s legislative package to help small businesses.