The Democratic-led New York Assembly has approved four bills that seek to prohibit wage discrepancies between men, women, and minorities. The New York State Fair Pay Act (A6130A) would make it unlawful for employers to discriminate in wage rates between employees on the basis of sex, race, and/or national origin, and further would prohibit discrimination in wage rate between jobs predominantly staffed with minorities as compared to equivalent jobs predominantly staffed by non-minorities. (The job-equivalency comparisons would be determined by the Department of Labor, pursuant to regulation.) Bill A9623 would direct the president of the New York State Civil Service Commission to study and publish a report evaluating the extent of wage disparities in public sector job classifications based on gender, race, and/or national origin. Bills A6448 and A1780 would amend the civil service laws to ensure that public employees at the local and state level would be paid equally for work of equivalent value regardless of sex, race or national origin. These bills would need to pass the Republican-led Senate in order to make it to the Governor’s desk.
In a decision that may have implications for other companies in the “gig economy,” an employment tribunal in the United Kingdom has ruled that drivers who provide services to Uber, a ride-sharing service, are not self-employed contractors but “workers” within the meaning of the UK’s Employment Rights Act 1996 and other laws governing working time and the minimum wage, namely the Working Time Regulations 1998, the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, and associated regulations.
On Tuesday, February 5, 2008, California will be one of over 20 states to hold caucuses or presidential primary elections. Under California Elections Code Section 14000, an employee must be provided with up to two (2) hours of time off to vote in a statewide election (without loss of pay) if he or she does not have sufficient time to vote outside working hours. According to the statute, this time off must be provided at the beginning or the end of the worker’s regular shift. If an employee has reason to know that he or she will need time off to vote at least three (3) working days prior to the election, the worker must provide the employer with at least two (2) working days’ notice.
As the United States gradually emerges from the pandemic, employers (and especially those in the tech sector whose workforces can easily work remotely) are looking for ways to help frazzled and burned-out employees. In addition, many employees are seeking opportunities to preserve the flexibility they gained during pandemic remote-work arrangements. Time off, company holidays, and workday flexibility are among the top remedies for these concerns. But outmoded state and federal labor laws may impede a new era of worker freedom.