The gig economy has been beneficial for everyone. Both the worker and the business owner have enjoyed the benefits of this symbiotic work relationship. No one was really complaining. Gig workers make their own way through doing business and NY SMBs could enjoy using their services as needed and on their own terms. That is, until recently. NY SMBs should brace themselves for the new legislation that went into effect in 2020, as well as legislation pending to solidify protections for gig workers in New York City and New York State as a whole.
Gig workers and the whole gig thing, in general, changed the way NY SMBs thought about the contract worker. Where most contract employees came from agencies that charged a premium for temporary employment, now NY SMBs can also enjoy utilizing the services of independent gig workers who want to have autonomy in their work. This is the era of the gig. NY SMBs will likely continue to embrace it for all that it is and all that it isn’t, but changes are coming.
New York State and New York City legislators are building more protections around gig workers and how NY employers work with them. These changes could significantly impact your business if they are not followed correctly. Since the New York provisions for gig workers means protection for these kinds of employees, there are also legal implications that NY SMBs need to be aware of immediately.
One of the things NY SMBs have enjoyed about hiring and working with gig workers is that they were treated strictly as vendors, with little provision for the human resource end of labor law compliance. NY SMBs didn’t need to. They weren’t technically employed by the businesses that were hiring them.
NYCHRL and New York State laws have changed what harassment, both sexual and otherwise, means in the workplace in New York City and New York State. That means that New York employers had better be aware of what harassment now means in their state and what happens when an employee feels exposed or damaged by harassment.
The new harassment laws impact the gig workers doing business with NY SMBs in that employers are now responsible for not only what gig workers are subject to in their workplace, but what they subject their non-gig employees to. There is a lot more skin in the game for NY SMBs when it comes to harassment.
Going forward, all NY SMBs will be required to provide gig workers with sexual harassment and discrimination training. The onus is now on the NY employer to provide, regardless of company size. The good news is that information on what to provide for sexual harassment and discrimination can be found on New York State’s Website. Anyone working in your office, be it a gig worker, vendor, or temporary employee, must not only receive initial harassment training but must be retrained every year as well.
There is legislation brewing in the next session over greater protections for gig workers when it comes to a variety of things. Still, most notable is the pending protections under the current Frequency Of Pay provision under current NYSHRL. Whereas most gig workers or contractors would invoice NY SMBs for work performed and wait like every other vendor to be paid, this new pending protection would umbrella gig workers under the existing law to pay on time. This would mean a substantial change in the way NY SMBs have been doing business with contract workers in the past and may impact their cash flow situation.
Suffice it to say; you shouldn’t be hiring people to do work you can’t afford to pay for anyway. Still, the flexibility of being able to be invoiced and wait your standard payment terms to pay your gig workers is not going to fly if this new provision in the current regulation is passed. Stay tuned for more on that as the year progresses.
While some of this news may prove to be unsettling for some, there need not be any seasons of despair for NY SMBs. Labor laws are ever-changing, and not usually in the employer’s favor. Keeping up with current and pending legislation that may impact your business is a daunting task, and most entrepreneurs and small business owners have enough to do already.
PEOs are a great way for NY SMBs to protect themselves by having a trusted advisor in employment law looking out for their best interests. PEOs can save them from the things they may not know that could harm their business when it comes to employing full-time workers and gig workers alike. If you’d like to know more about how PEOs protect a NY SMB’s best interests, contact us today to find out more.
If you’d like to find out more about how PEOs can help you provide great benefits and payroll management at less than you are paying now, contact us today for a free consultation.
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