Your workforce is your most valuable asset. Adhering to laws that are put in place to benefit your employees will only benefit your organization in turn. It’s easy to assume, however, that keeping compliant equates to spending money—whether it’s on the cost to remain compliant or the hefty fines you get for choosing not to (or not knowing they exist).
But we have some good news. Your bottom line doesn’t need to be in jeopardy. If you’re strategic in other parts of your workforce management strategy, compliance will be easy, and you’ll actually save money elsewhere.
We’ve explained how organizations on the West Coast can keep compliant with the latest labor law changes and still manage to control costs. We thought we’d give the East Coast some attention and provide helpful guidelines to the heavily regulated state of New York.
We broke down the more recent employment laws that may currently be affecting your hourly workforce in NY, along with the strategies you can implement to abide by and cut costs in tandem.
Minimum Wage Increase Creates an Opportunity for OT Management
Since 2016, there have been incremental minimum wage increases put in place to reach a $15 minimum wage by 2021 for part of the state. The current minimum wage for NYC employers of 11 workers or more is already at $15 per hour; Long Island and Westchester are currently sitting at $12 and are awaiting a $1 bump on December 31 2019, to keep on track for 2021. Meanwhile, the remainder of NY state workers have a bit more time to hit $15 and will go from their current $11.10 to $11.80 at the end of the year.
If you’re in NY state, you’ll be facing an increase of some sort; if you’re in NYC, your business is already paying the highest hourly rate in the country. Any increase in an employee’s wage will affect your bottom line. The good news is that other costs can be controlled to offset these increases. The biggest factor is overtime, where roughly 27% of overtime costs are considered to be unbudgeted. If you catch over-staffing before it happens, however, your overtime cost breakdown won’t come as such a shock.
Are your schedulers aware of which employee is close to exceeding their 40 hours? If they aren’t, then you are at risk of accidentally assigning too many unnecessary overtime hours.
We’ve previously discussed how automated workforce management can drive total overtime costs down by 19%. Providing visibility into hours worked and centralizing communication for overtime requests makes it easier for your complex scheduling organization to streamline OT hours.
NYC Temporary Schedule Change Law Allows for Advancement in Scheduling
Effective this past July, employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year in NYC and are employed for 120 or more days have a right to temporary changes to their work schedule to accommodate “personal events.” Covered personal events include a) caring for a minor child or disabled family member, b) attending a legal proceeding for subsistence benefits to which the employee or a family member is a party, or c) any reason that constitutes permissible safe/sick time under the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA). Employers must grant an employee’s request for a temporary change up to two times per calendar year, each request totaling one business day.
Unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year, per worker. If you don’t have a scheduling process that allows for quick, efficient shift replacements, you’ll see a lot of gaps in your roster.
Rather than wasting time flipping through company directories and dialing yourself, there is an opportunity to fully automate the process of finding replacements. You can fill a schedule vacancy in minutes with Indeavor’s Smart Backfill™ tool; automatically call or text qualified employees to meet any need based on your pre-set compliance rules.
You can learn more about the advantages of automating the call-out process here.
Paid Leave Gives You a Chance to Improve the Vacancy Filling Process
The ESSTA was amended this past May. All NYC employers with five or more employees must provide workers with up to 40 hours of paid safe/sick time per year. An eligible employee is an employee working within NYC for more than 80 hours in a calendar year.
Employees accrue one hour of safe/sick time for every 30 hours worked which can be used after 120 days of employment. At the end of a year, the employer has to either a) payout accrued and unused safe/sick time and give them another 40 hours at the start of the next year or b) allow the employee to roll the unused hours over to the next year.
In 2018, the New York State Paid Family Leave Law was announced, making NY one of only five states to have paid family leave in place.
An eligible full-time employee is one that has worked for a covered employer for at least 26 consecutive weeks. Eligible employees are guaranteed the following: paid time off for 8 weeks (capped at 50% of the statewide average weekly pay), job protection upon return from leave, and continuation of health insurance while on leave. The number of paid time off weeks is set to increase to 12 by 2021 (capped at 67% of the statewide average weekly pay).
So, NY employers are paying for time off that most states do not have to budget for. To control costs, you need to have a process in place for proper staffing—that doesn’t rely on hemorrhaging money hiring temps that you have to train, or doling out overtime to employees that will get paid 1.5x their hourly rate.
Digitized job bidding can help you fill long-term vacancies. By having employees choose their preferences for shift hours and job functions, you will have a written log of their interests so you can more easily choose the best employee to cover the job. By opening up the job to only qualified people, they will have the opportunity to bid for the vacancy from the comfort of their mobile device—no more forms!
The Indeavor Solution
To keep HR and Operations sane amid these updates to New York’s labor laws, visibility into overtime hours and improved processes for filling both long and short-term vacancies are key. You can get all these benefits with indeavor.
Indeavor Operate is our workforce management SaaS solution which offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling, time & attendance, and absence management system. It integrates with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems to create a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data.
Click here to request a demo.