Last month, the New York State legislature passed Senate Bill S1958A. This bill, if and when turned into state law, will amend the New York Labor Law to prohibit absence control policies, also known as “no-fault” attendance policies, that discipline employees for taking absences that are protected under federal, state, and local laws.
No-Fault attendance policies are policies established by companies in efforts to curb absenteeism in the workplace. These policies penalize workers for absences by utilizing a points system in order to monitor attendance. Points are allocated based on how much work is missed and, depending on the company, employees can be disciplined or fired if they reach a certain number of points. This point system and the number where disciplinary action is taken varies from company to company.
In various states, these attendance policies have been challenged as a violation of employee rights. For example, these types of policies may violate federal laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Due to the nature of these two acts and their protection of employees with medical and physical conditions, a no-fault attendance policy often violates the right to time off from work due to these conditions or the care of a family member.
No-Fault attendance policies often treat all absences the same. Therefore, absences that fall under these protected reasons punish an employee for taking legally protected time off from work.
Following suit of many states that are also prohibiting these attendance policies, New York State has passed a bill that will amend state labor laws to prohibit employers from “assessing any demerit, occurrence, any other point, or deductions from an allotted bank of time to employees taking “any legally protected absence pursuant to federal, state, or local law. If an employer continues the practice of no-fault attendance policies, they will be subject to retaliation under the NYS Labor Law.
Governor Kathy Hochul is expected to sign the bill into law later this summer. The amendment would take effect 90 days after.
For more up-to-date information on this bill or other legislation that affects New York State employees, visit us on our blog today.