Albany, NY – New York State Senator Pete Harckham and State Assemblyman Steve Otis announced that their legislation to require that workplace legal notices regarding worker rights and protections be made available to employees electronically has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. The legislation (S.6805 / A.7595) will enhance worker access to information about their labor law, health and safety rights.
The prior law required posting of Department of Labor and other pertinent documents to make sure employees have access to information regarding their rights as employees. These documents are often lengthy, detailed and appear in small print and are generally posted on a bulletin board or wall at an indoor work location. Additionally, they are posted on walls or fences at outdoor work locations such as construction sites.
The new law would enhance the ability of employees to fully access and review these documents by requiring employers to make these documents electronically available to employees.
“This common-sense legislation, now enacted, will enhance workplace communications in order to keep workers safe,” said Harckham. “With improved access to safety and health information, we will be protecting workers in many ways while also increasing productivity. I thank my colleague Steve Otis for championing the legislation in the Assembly and appreciate Governor Hochul’s support of the law, which will benefit workers statewide.”
“We thank Governor Hochul for her approval of our legislation to empower workers by making sure they have meaningful access to the legally required notice of their workplace rights,” said Otis. “Electronic access to employee rights under the labor law, as well as notice of health and safety protections, will ensure that notice keeps pace with today’s technology and make for a better workplace. Passage was made possible with the advice of labor leaders in Westchester and the strong advocacy of Pete Harckham in the Senate.”
The Covid-19 pandemic further highlighted the need to make these workplace documents available electronically. During the pandemic many employees have been working remotely, and changes in workplace location patterns are continuing to evolve even after the health crisis has receded. As such, the requirements that certain documents be posted in a workplace will not reach these employees.
By adding a digital requirement to these postings, employees will be able to access the documents at the device of their choosing, print documents and review them in a more thorough way.
Thomas Carey, president of Westchester Putnam AFL-CIO Central Labor Body, said, “Once again, Senator Harckham and Assemblyman Otis stand with labor to make certain the necessary documents are available for each worker entering a job site. These postings are designed to protect workers and inform them of their rights and safety standards required to work onsite. Many times these postings are destroyed by weather or vandalism early on in the construction phase, which leaves many workers unable to understand their protections. I thank the State Legislature and Governor Hochul for continued support for the working men and women across New York.”