New York legislation aims to prevent employee layoffs

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New legislation in New York allows employees facing potential layoffs to petition their employers to apply to participate in a shared work program, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced.

The governor signed the legislation Oct. 23.

Under the legislation, eligible employees may request a shared work program before the layoff or within 10 days of the layoff, according to a news release from Ms. Hochul's office. The employer must respond to the employee's request within seven days and is not required to implement the program.

Ms. Hochul's office said this helps employers avoid layoffs because it allows employers to reduce all employee hours, while keeping staff working during a temporary reduction in business. The state then helps workers with reduced hours by providing unemployment insurance assistance to cover lost wages, according to the news release. The governor's office also said the shared work programs allow more workers to be rehired when business is normal again and help minimize unemployment insurance costs as more workers stay employed.

New York is among the states with work sharing programs. As of June 2019, about 30 states and Washington, D.C., had enacted programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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