SARATOGA SPRINGS – Members of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce are calling a proposed change to state labor rules the “death of common sense” in relation to small businesses.
Specifically, the chamber opposes a “call-in scheduling mandate on private and nonprofit employers,” as described in a Jan. 5 email alert.
“If approved by the New York State Labor Department, the draft rules would require workers get an additional two hours’ pay for shift assignments given without at least 14 days advance notice,” the chamber wrote. “As a result, this rule will essentially penalize any employer that calls-in an employee to work any shift that becomes open at no fault of the employer.
“We’ve heard from more chamber members than usual on this issue who are [concerned] about the costs, the paperwork, and the loss of flexibility they will have in filling open shifts,” the chamber added.
When reached for comment, Chamber President Todd Shimkus called it “one of the least popular” state proposals he has “ever seen.”
The Labor Department officially published the call-in rule change in late November, initiating a public comment period that was extended to Monday, Jan. 22.
In a posting this week on its Twitter account, the chamber welcomed an extension of the comment period, but added: “What small employers need is for this #deathofcommonsense proposal to be permanently rejected. Just say no now!”
Business owners from across New York were invited to participate in a related forum in Albany on Thursday, Jan. 4 that was organized by state senators.
“If this rule becomes law in New York, we will have the most restrictive, burdensome call-in pay regulation in the nation,” argued State Sen. Chris Jacobs (R-Buffalo) at the outset of the forum. Jacobs is calling on state officials to rescind the measure.
The proposed call-in rules “simply ignore the reality of operating and growing a business,” testified Unshackle Upstate Executive Director Greg Biryla. “This impacts businesses everywhere.”
Cullen Burnell, a Labor Department spokesman, responded in an email: “We remain confident that at the end of the robust public participation process that has included several meetings and direct input from countless stakeholders and the public, new fair and balanced rules will be finalized to ensure workers are protected.”
Burnell did not respond to a request for more detailed information.