New York Passes Even More New Employment Laws

Author: Michael Cardman, HR & Compliance Center Senior Legal Editor

September 21, 2023

Following a busy year that has already seen the passage of new laws to raise the minimum wage, make wage theft a larceny, prohibit "captive audience" meetings and more, New York has enacted three more worker-friendly measures.

Requiring Written Notice of Unemployment Benefits

Effective November 13, 2023, S4878A/A398A requires covered employers to provide employees written notice of their right to file for unemployment benefits after any separation from employment or any reduction in hours that results in unemployment.

This law will "ensure that workers who are laid off or have their hours reduced have the knowledge and information they need to access unemployment insurance," said State Sen. Shelley Mayer, one of the law's sponsors.

Shielding Employees' Personal Electronic Accounts

Effective March 12, 2024, S2518A/A836 prohibits employers from requesting or requiring that employees or job applicants disclose usernames, passwords or any other means of accessing social media, email or other electronic personal accounts as a condition of hiring or continued employment or for use in disciplinary actions.

"[S]ome employers make hiring and disciplinary decisions far beyond information that prospective and current employees share publicly," said Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz. "Requesting and demanding this information constitutes a serious invasion of privacy on behalf of the employer and may lead to issues of unfair and discriminatory hiring and admissions practices."

The law does not prohibit employers from requesting access to business-related accounts, accessing company-issued devices, restricting employees' access to certain websites while on company networks or devices, and more.

New York joins roughly two dozen states that already have laws on the books protecting employees' privacy on social media.

Increasing Salary Thresholds for Payroll Exemptions

Effective March 13, 2024, S5572/A6796  increases from $900 to $1,300 the weekly salary threshold that exempts executive, administrative and professional employees from New York's direct deposit consent requirement and pay frequency provisions.