Update: The governor in December 2022 signed the law requiring New York employers to provide electronic versions of labor law posters to employees.
In New York, employers are now required to provide digital copies of labor law postings to their employees in addition to physically displaying the posters in their workspace. The digital versions can be provided to employees through the employer’s website or by email. Employers also need to provide notice to their employees that the labor law postings are also available electronically.
Original post (May 2022):
Under a new bill, employers in New York State would be required to provide digital labor law postings to employees.
The bill has passed both the House and Senate, and awaits the governor’s signature. If passed, it would take effect immediately.
The law would require copies of certain documents that would normally be physically posted in the workplace to be available to employees electronically, either through email or the employer’s website.
Also, while the legislation does not define what “certain” postings are, discussion on the New York Assembly floor indicated the law would apply to the required postings for employers.
New York State Digital Labor Law Postings Law
With more employees working from home in recent years, the bill in New York marks a recognition that remote employees also need access to updated labor law postings. But it also is a matter of allowing employees time to review the applicable laws and their rights in greater detail.
“The purpose of this really is based upon something that is commonsense,” Assemblyman Steven Otis said of the legislation in early March 2022. “These rights that workers depend upon when there’s a situation that the law may affect them that they could be protected, they’re posted on indoor locations at workplaces. They’re posted at outdoor locations at construction sites. In either case, they’re not that well accessible for someone that really wants to look and to see how their rights can be protected, especially in the outdoor locations. … They’re not really accessible for someone to read carefully.”
Despite requiring employers to provide the applicable labor law postings electronically, companies would still have to display them in a conspicuous place on the premises.
The bill itself is relatively short on copy but makes clear the requirements for employers:
Digital versions of such copies and abstracts shall also be made available through the employer’s website or by email. Employers shall provide notice that documents required for physical posting are also available electronically. All other documents required to be physically posted at a worksite pursuant to state or federal law or regulation shall also be made electronically available in the manner described pursuant to this section.
Digital Labor Law Postings
The topic of digital labor law postings has seen added attention since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late December 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a field assistance bulletin regarding digital postings of the:
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- Services Contract Act
“In most cases, these electronic notices supplement but do not replace the statutory and regulatory requirements that employers post a hard-copy notice,” reads a portion of the bulletin. “Whether notices are provided electronically or in hard-copy format, it is an employer’s obligation to provide the required notices to all affected individuals.”
Some federal postings require employers to “post and keep posted” notices at all times. In those cases, federal officials consider digital postings an “acceptable substitute” under certain conditions:
- All employees exclusively work remotely
- All employees customarily receive information from the employer via electronic means
- All employees have easy access to the electronic posting at all times
If an employer has both on-site and off-site workers, companies may supplement hard-copy postings with the digital version. The DOL encourages businesses to use both methods.
When it comes to postings that require employers to provide individual notices to employees, electronic delivery meets the requirements so long as workers customarily receive company information electronically.
Employers with locations in New York State should check on the status of the law to ensure compliance.
It would also be prudent to conduct an audit to make sure locations are displaying the correct postings, especially those employers with federal contracts, do business in certain industries, or come under other laws that may require additional postings.
This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.