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New attendance law will impact New York employers and employees

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2022 | Employment Law |

For New York employers and employees, attendance requirements are based on workplace policy and what state law says about how this is regulated. This is designed to provide guidelines and protect both sides. In the past, however, there has been a certain level of confusion as to how employees may be disciplined for missed time at work.

Given the state of many workplaces today with accusations of mistreatment, discrimination, harassment and other violations, attendance policies add another source of confusion that must be navigated. A person who is unable to get to work because they are caring for a sick loved one previously had been treated the same way as a person who was simply unreliable and showed up intermittently. Being protected based on federal law and employee rights is important. A law that was recently passed by the New York State Senate and is awaiting signature by the governor will address this problem.

Senate bill would make the policy for “no-fault” absences clearer

With the new law, employers who have a “no-fault” policy on employee absences will no longer be allowed to discipline employees if they are absent due to a reason that is protected through federal, state or local law. That means if an employee needs to use a federally protected reason like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), they would not be treated in the same way as a worker who decided to take a day off without informing the employer.

Many workplaces operate with a points-based system where the accumulation of enough points can lead to penalties on the job. They might not be promoted when they would otherwise warrant consideration for a higher position, could be deprived of wages or may lose vacation days. Eventually, it could result in termination. Once the new law is passed, employers who treat employees this way would be categorized as committing retaliation. Once it is signed, it will go into effect after 90 days.

Employers and employees may need help with workplace attendance disputes

Most employers are not eager to discipline employees and employees want to get to work, do their jobs and fulfill their obligations. Still, with this new law, the sides should be fully aware of what it means. If there are illegal actions taken after it is signed by the governor, employers and employees must be up to date on the new landscape. That includes how to pursue compensation from the employee’s perspective or defend against accusations of wrongdoing from the employer’s perspective.

It is wise to have assistance in preparing for the new law with handbooks and policies that are clearly stated. When there are disputes that require legal intervention, it is imperative to have professional guidance from professionals who understand the plight of all employees whether they are blue collar are white collar and independent of where they come from. Calling for representation from experienced people who are multilingual can give a feeling of comfort and be beneficial with addressing the employment law issues effectively.