In recent years, there has been significant discussion over worker rights. Often, this is framed from the worker’s point of view. Such issues as harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination are the most prominent.
This automatically makes employers look like they are in the wrong, but in most situations, employers strive to treat their employees fairly. They do so within the boundaries of the law, have clear policies, prevent complaints from happening and address them immediately if they do.
Despite that, it is not uncommon to have confusion. This is especially true if there is a new law that people might not be aware of or fail to grasp. One such law in New York will prevent employees from being penalized if they take leave to which they are entitled. Since it does not go into effect until Feb. 20, 2023, it gives employers time to prepare for it. If complaints are made, it is vital to have comprehensive guidance from experienced legal professionals.
Understanding the new law protecting workers’ rights to protected leave
Once the law goes into effect, employees cannot be retaliated against for using legally protected time off. That includes federal, state and local laws allowing time off. In New York, if a worker needs time off because they are ill or are caring for a family member who is ill, they cannot be penalized for it. That is covered under this new law. The same is true for taking time off for jury duty or to vote.
Federally, employees can use the Family and Medical Leave Act granting them as much as 12 weeks of unpaid time off with no threat to their job status. With FMLA, it can be up to 26 weeks if they are caring for a child, a spouse or a seriously ill parent.
The law does not simply give employees a pass for missing time. Employers are still able to use a point-based system to track employee attendance. The difference is that protected leave cannot be calculated under this type of system. Workers who faced penalties because they were absent under the old rules may be protected once the new laws go into effect.
If an employer is found to violate the new law, they can be subject to a legal filing and be asked to pay various damages to the aggrieved employee. The employer might also face fines from the New York Commissioner of Labor.
Employers should have help in preparing for newly implemented laws
Employers and employees should be fully up to date on the laws that dictate how the relationship works. That includes new laws that will impact various issues. Workplace disagreements are frequently framed as inherently antagonistic, but it does not necessarily need to be contentious. Often, it is little more than a misinterpretation or a misunderstanding that must be navigated. Still, employers must be protected just as employees must be.
For cases where there is discord over an employee claiming they were penalized for taking protected time off, it is essential to know how the new law will be interpreted. The key aspect of any employer-employee case is to achieve justice. With this new law going into effect at the end of February, it is likely there will be complaints about employers violating employee rights.
Businesses want to avoid the negative connotations of employees claiming they violated their rights. Knowing the law from the outset is a key part of preventing these problems from occurring. When they do happen, it is wise to be protected by a firm that has more than three decades of experience with employment law for employers and understands the perspective of both employer and employee to try and find a reasonable solution to problems as they arise.