APTOPIX Seattle Hourly Workers

People in favor of proposed new work scheduling rules stand in support before a Seattle City Council meeting Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Elaine Thompson

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the state Department of Labor is finalizing new scheduling regulations aiming to provide more predictable schedules for employees, especially those in the service sector. 

The highlights of the proposed rule include a 14-day advance notice requirement for scheduling and two hours of additional pay for last-minute shifts. For on-call employees, they must be receive at least four hours of pay if they're called in to work a shift. 

The regulations wouldn't apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that allows for call-in pay. Workers who earn more than 40 times the minimum wage rate wouldn't be subject to the rule. 

The new rule also wouldn't apply to new employees during their first two weeks on the job or to scheduled employees who volunteer to cover shifts. 

Cuomo directed state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon to hold public hearings on employee scheduling. There were four hearings held across the state. Testimony collected at the hearings was used in the development of the new rule.  

According to the governor's office, the regulations were developed to "give workers a voice in their own schedules" with the goal of providing additional protections for low-wage workers. 

"In New York, we have achieved nation-leading success in workers' rights, and we will continue to fight to protect all hardworking New Yorkers," Cuomo said in a statement. "The regulations advanced by the Department of Labor will increase fairness for workers and allow employers to retain flexibility." 

There are concerns about the rule from the business community. The Business Council of New York State said it is reviewing the rule and intends to submit recommendations during the upcoming review period. 

Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, acknowledged that there would be some benefits, including simplifying compliance by employers. But she said the proposed rule would be another financial hurdle for New York businesses. 

"It will drive employers with part-time and/or lower-income employees to significantly modify their scheduling practices, at a time when they are also absorbing the costs of an increased minimum wage and dealing with the complexity of the new paid family leave act," she said. 

The proposed rule can be found at labor.ny.gov/schedulingregs. There will be a 45-day comment period once the regulation is published in the Nov. 22 edition of the State Register. 

To submit comments on the proposed rules, email hearing@labor.ny.gov

"At the beginning of this process, we set out to strike a fair balance in scheduling for both workers and employers," Reardon said. "The regulations advanced today accomplish just that." 

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