New York employers face stricter limits on deductions from employee paychecks, under new regulations issued by the New York Department of Labor. The new regulations clarify severe restrictions under Labor Law Section 193 that limit deductions, even with the employee’s written permission.
Specifically, the new regulations prohibit deductions in four areas that have been common in the past.
Employers are not allowed to make deductions for overpayments or salary advances. This also means that the New York employer cannot dock an employee’s final paycheck if the employee has a negative vacation balance.
A recent statement by the Director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that New Mexico highway worker safety hazards have reached epidemic proportions. That’s why OSHA has joined forces with the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners Alliance to improve highway construction worker safety.
Together, OSHA and the Health Partners Alliance will work to promote public awareness of the problem and the need for drivers to use caution near highway worker safety zones. Moreover, these two organizations will spotlight additional health issues that highway workers face. To help, OSHA has an array of resources available that address the safety of highway workers.
In a recent speech, CDC Director Jeffrey P. Koplan, said, “Every day, when orange traffic cones prompt us to slow down and drive carefully near work zones, we are reminded that highway and street construction is hard and potentially hazardous work. As we enter the busy spring construction season, NIOSH’s new document offers practical and comprehensive advice for reducing workers’ risk of injury.”
New Mexico highway worker safety is the subject of a new campaign, and many people may have questions about this program.
The program is designed to help reduce the number of highway workers who are killed and injured on the job each year. Annually, the first week of April has been named National Work Zone Awareness Week by OSHA. The campaign being used this year is intended to remind drivers to drive carefully around highway worker safety zones. The campaign is called “Signs for Change.”
As Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, explains, “Employees who work in highway zones have one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States and these employees need not only OSHA’s support, but the support of everyone who gets behind the wheel on a daily basis.” According to Foulke, “There were nearly 1,100 work zone fatalities last year — that is a tragedy. I am hopeful that campaigns like this will help reduce those numbers.”
Recent updates to the federal USERRA regulations have left employers with a number of questions.
A recent change allows soldiers to keep their employer’s group health care coverage for up to two years. In this case, the soldiers are responsible for the full amount of the premium. This means that they have to pay not only their share of the premium, but also the employer’s share. In addition, the soldiers are responsible for any processing fees, so soldiers who take this approach can end up paying 102% of the premium total for their health insurance. Before soldiers reach the 30 day mark where they qualify for military health care, their civilian employers need to provide health care coverage as if the soldier were still an employee.
USERRA refers to the 1994 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. This act helps Americans who serve in the military during a national emergency to keep their civilian jobs. The way the act works is that all veterans are covered. It seems that at the present time, the act’s main focus is on National Guard and Reserve members.
The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, also known as VETS, released the most recently updated rules. VETS is a Department of Labor division, and is responsible for enforcing USERRA regulations. Veterans who have claims under the USERRA regulations may file them with VETS. One of the most recent changes is that VETS claims can now be filed on behalf of federal government employees.
The USERRA policy is that the civilian jobs of members of the Navy, Army, or Air Force Reserve are to be protected for up to 5 years while they are serving. If a worker serves in the military for 2 years, and then serves 3 years after that, the 5 year limit will have been reached since the total is cumulative.
Members of the Reserve and National Guard must leave their civilian jobs periodically to train. These training periods are not counted under the 5-year limit.
Special protection is given to soldiers who are injured in active duty. Civilian employers of disabled veterans need to make reasonable accommodations that take into account the veteran’s disability. In addition, if a service member is injured and is recovering from those injuries, he or she is allowed two additional years beyond the completion of the term of service to return to his or her civilian job. If these injuries happen during training, the service member still gets the additional two years.
Is your company a part of the New Mexico drug free workplace program? If it is, good new for you! Participation in the program has proven as an effective way to reduce costs and improve employee mood and motivation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) always encourages programs that help keep the work environment safe.
The latest effort that came from the New Mexico drug free workplace program is a VPP (Voluntary Protection Program) called the Mobile Workforce Demonstration for Construction. The focus is for construction companies that are portable. Since many accidents take place as a result of drug use, and construction workers have to deal with heavy machinery, the effort really makes sense. Drug use can hinder someone’s performance on any job and pose a hazard to safety. If this kind of impairment can happen in other less risky professions, it makes even more sense to help protect those in the construction industry.
This new Voluntary Protection Program addresses many of the issues that the OSHA is concerned with when it comes to the construction industry. Eliminating various hazards is extremely important. All employers need to make sure that every worker is properly trained and educated about the various safety precautions that are necessary. Any contractors and subcontractors should also be trained and safety and health should be at the forefront of any operations.
In 1982, the first VPP was developed and put into practice. Management, labor, unions and government organizations come together in a joint effort to promote health and safety and health. The OSHA recognizes the efforts of employers and employees who develop programs such as this to help raise the standards of safety and health in the workplace. When a Voluntary Protection Program is proposed, the OSHA visits the worksite and then reviews and evaluates the safety plans. All VPPs have to be approved by the OSHA.
Every New Mexico employer should have a first aid kit, a smoke detector, a flashlight… and a ton of toilet tissue??? What kind of advice is that?
It’s the kind of advice in a recent New Mexico OSHA alert regarding emergency plans for a pandemic, or worldwide epidemic of influenza.
Most of us think of the flu as no big deal. It’s uncomfortable, but not life threatening. However, during a pandemic, a new strain of the influenza virus sweeps across frontiers. During the last major flu epidemic, up to 5% of the human population was wiped out. In some areas, 33% or more died.
A recent New Mexico OSHA alert describes what could happen if an influenza pandemic, or global outbreak, were to take place. Although there is no new flu strain and of course no pandemic, OSHA suggests employers be ready.
The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed far more people than did the First World War. Some 50 to 100 million people died as a result of the flu pandemic, in 18 months. The war, by comparison killed 9 million soldiers and several million civilians.
If you’re like most New Mexico employers, you probably already have disaster plans for fires, power outages, floods, and hurricanes. But you probably do not have one for a pandemic. But, notes OSHA, a global flu outbreak could throw the economy into a tailspin worldwide. Everything from tourism to trade, from travel to the food supply and consumer shopping in general, could be impacted. Eventually the markets, both financial and investment, could be hit.
What can New Mexico employers do to get ready? Develop a contingency plan. “As with any catastrophe, having a contingency plan is essential,” according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Employers would play a major part in workers’ health and safety precautions in the event of another flu pandemic, helping to slow or ease worldwide economic problems.