Employers' HR Newsletter     

Kelly LoVullo Smith, Editor
Frank A. Cania, President
A publication of driven HR – A USA Payroll Company     

A message from Frank:

December is always a busy and exciting month, and 2017 has proven to be no exception. In addition to the many holidays celebrated in December, there are several HR-related items to be aware of. Not the least of which are ensuring you are prepared for New York Paid Family Leave that is effective January 1, 2018, and the increases in New York State’s minimum hourly wage and minimum weekly salary requirements. (see the PFL Update below, and our November 2017 Employers’ HR Newsletter for articles on both topics.)

On behalf of the entire driven HR team, I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and a very happy and prosperous New Year!


Sunlight and Sexual Harassment

by Frank A. Cania, president, driven HR - A USA Payroll Company 

(Originally published in The Daily Record newspaper)

The late Supreme Court associate justice Louis Brandeis wrote in an article for Harper’s Weekly, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” Describing one of the cornerstones of his legal philosophy, Brandeis could never have imagined how social media and the relentless scourge of sexual harassment would make his words ring so true more than 100 years later.

I will admit, I’m approaching this topic with extreme trepidation. With new and seemingly more disturbing allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by powerful public figures being reported almost daily, and the current cultural and political climate, any discussion on this topic instantly becomes a potential lighting rod. Are there other “safe” topics to write about? Absolutely. But, given the exposure–pardon the pun–sexual harassment has received, it is a topic that needs to be addressed now. (CLICK HERE TO READ THIS ARTICLE)

It’s hard to imagine there’s anyone in New York State that’s not aware of Paid Family Leave, or PFL. But, what’s not hard to imagine is the confusion that still surrounds PFL. To help clear up some of the confusion and misinformation, we’re going to include a PFL update section for a few issues.

The PFL regulations require employers to provide employees with the following information on or before the PFL effective date of January 1, 2018:

  • Notify employees of their rights and responsibilities under the NY Paid Family Leave Act.
  • Post the NY Paid Family Leave Employee Rights poster in an area accessible to all employees.
  • Provide employees with a written policy regarding NY Paid Family Leave.

driven HR provides a template NY PFL employee notification letter, and a link to download and print the required poster. Go to www.drivenhr.com/ny-state-paid-family-leave/ for these documents, and more information, including a list of frequently asked questions, and links to NY state forms and resources. To update your employee handbook, including the necessary NY Paid Family Leave policy update, contact us at info@drivenhr.com.

New York State proposes new “on-call” regulations


The New York State Department of Labor has proposed regulations regarding “call-in” or “on-call” scheduling. The proposed regulations are expected to modify only the Minimum Wage Order for Miscellaneous Industries and Occupations for nonexempt employees, with no changes to the hospitality, farming, or building service industry wage orders.

The proposed regulations include the following:

  • Reporting to work – an employee who, by request or permission of their employer, reports for work on any shift will be paid for at least four hours of call-in pay.
  • Unscheduled shift – an employee who, by request or permission of their employer, reports to work for any shift for hours that have not been scheduled at least 14 days in advance of the shift, will be paid an additional two hours of call-in pay.
  • Cancelled shift – an employee whose shift is cancelled within 72 hours of the scheduled start of the shift will be paid for at least four hours of call-in pay.
  • On-call – an employee who, by request or permission of the employer, is required to be available to report to work for any shift will be paid for at least four hours of call-in pay.
  • Call for schedule – an employee who, by request or permission of the employer, is required to be in contact with the employer within 72 hours of start of the shift to confirm whether to report to work will be paid for at least four hours of call-in pay.

The proposed on-call regulations are subject to a comment period which ends in early January 2018. Interested parties can submit comments on the proposed regulations at hearing@labor.ny.gov. Once finalized, the regulations will likely be effective by the second quarter of 2018. Affected employers will be required to update payroll practices and employment policies included in their employee handbook.

To read the proposed on-call regulations, go to: https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/pdfs/employee-scheduling-proposed-rule.pdf.

Employee Handbooks Need Updates

Employment regulations, like Paid Family Leave and the proposed on-call regulations, become effective throughout the year, often with little to no notification to employers outside the official channels. That means, a) your employee handbook should be regularly updated, and b) you may be responsible for new or modified employment regulations that you aren’t even aware of.

driven HR provides a variety of policy development and employee handbook services, including ongoing automatic regulatory policy updates, to ensure you are always up-to-date. For more information on available employment policy and employee handbook services, go to www.drivenhr.com/hr-consulting/employee-handbooks-policy-development/, or contact driven HR at info@drivenhr.com.

Employment Posters Also Need Updating

When employment regulations change or add, employment posters also need to be updated or added. Employers should update/replace employment posters at least annually in January. CLICK HERE to order your 2018 “all-in-one” state and federal employment posters. For more information contact Amanda LeRoy at amanda@drivenhr.com.

driven HR Quick Facts

Here are a few interesting holiday-related facts:

  • The largest gathering of people wearing holiday sweaters is 3,473, recorded at the University of Kansas on December 19, 2015, when that many people wore brightly colored sweaters to the men's basketball game against Montana.

  • The GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for the largest display of lit Christmas trees was set on November 2, 2015, when the Hallmark Channel lit 559 Christmas trees in New York City's Herald Square.

  • Ethiopia is the only country in the world that hasn't adopted the 12-month calendar that is sometimes referred to as the Gregorian calendar. Ethiopia uses the Coptic Calendar, which has 13 months, of which 12 are comprised of 30 days each, and a 13th month at the end of the year that has 5 days (or 6 days, if it's a leap year). The result is that Ethiopia celebrates the New Year on September 11.

  • It's a time-honored tradition to eat fried chicken on Christmas in Japan. Starting in 1974, Kentucky Fried Chicken got in on the action by asking the people of Japan to show thanks for Christmas by enjoying a bucket of KFC. People in Japan order up their finger-licking-good Christmas chicken months in advance—to the tune of about 3,000,000 orders of KFC each year.

  • Boxing Day, an English tradition that carries on even today, is December 26 (it’s also Frank Cania’s birthday!). Traditionally, churches in England have an alms box for people to donate money for the poor. Boxing Day is the day when families literally "open the box" (the alms box) and the contents is distributed to those less fortunate in the parish.

  • Festivus, the holiday for "the rest of us," was introduced into pop culture in an episode of Seinfeld. But, the holiday was actually invented in 1966 by Dan O'Keefe to celebrate the anniversary of his first date with his wife. Dan’s son, a television writer also named Dan, wrote the now famous 1997 Seinfeld episode.

  • For the first 10 years after it premiered in 1946, It's a Wonderful Life, that sweet and seemingly guileless Christmas classic, was on the FBI's radar as suspected Communist propaganda—because it (supposedly) made bankers seem like bad people. It was cleared of all wrongdoing in 1956.

driven HR – A USA Payroll Company  1173 Pittsford Victor Rd., Ste. 210 Pittsford, NY 14537

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