The New York State legislature has passed S1958A/A8092B, which will clarify that employers may not use abusive attendance policies to punish their employees for taking legally-protected time off. These policies, used by some of the biggest corporate sectors including retail, manufacturing, and food service, which employ millions of workers across the country and in New York State specifically, subject employees to discipline for absences regardless of the reason for the absence—often including absences that are legally-protected.
As described in our report Misled and Misinformed, ensuring that these policies are not used to circumvent workers’ rights is a gender, racial, and economic justice issue. S1958A/A8092B does this by making it illegal to punish workers for taking legally-protected time off and clarifying that assigning a point under an abusive attendance policy can be a form of illegal retaliation.
The following is a statement from A Better Balance Co-Founder and Co-President Dina Bakst:
“No worker should feel pressured to come to work when they’re sick or a loved one is seriously ill because they fear job loss, especially when that absence is protected by federal, state or local law. Unfortunately, that’s the reality for millions of workers in this country, especially those in low-wage jobs. The passage of this groundbreaking, innovative legislation strengthens workers’ rights in New York State by making clear employers can’t flout the law and punish them for taking legally-protected time off through the use of punitive attendance policies and systems.”
We thank Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Karines Reyes for their leadership on supporting workers’ health and economic security while protecting their fundamental rights, and we call on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign S1958A/A8092B into law without delay.”