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New York’s Employment Laws: Upcoming Changes to Look For

    Social Media Accounts: Protecting Employee Privacy

    New York State Governor Kathy Hochul has recently enacted legislation aimed at safeguarding the privacy of employees concerning their social media accounts. This law, which will take effect on March 12, 2024, prohibits employers from requesting or requiring personal usernames, login information, passwords, or social media accounts as conditions for hiring, employment, or disciplinary actions.

    Key Provisions

    Employers are now prohibited from:

    1. Requesting or coercing employees to disclose login information for personal accounts.
    2. Demanding access to personal accounts in the employer’s presence.
    3. Compelling the reproduction of content from personal accounts through prohibited means.


    • Employers may request login information for accounts provided by them and used for business purposes, with prior notice to employees.
    • Employers can access employer-paid electronic communication devices with conditions outlined at the time of payment but cannot access personal accounts on these devices.

    Notice of Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits

    Governor Hochul has also signed a bill requiring employers to provide written notice of eligibility for unemployment benefits to separated employees. Effective from November 13, 2023, this legislation, amending Section 590 of the Labor Law, mandates employers to inform employees of their right to file for unemployment benefits within five working days of termination or reduced working hours.

    Compliance Period

    Within the same five-working-day period, employers must also notify terminated employees in writing of the exact termination date and the cancellation date of associated benefits, as per Section 195(6) of the Labor Law.

    Modification to the Definition of Clerical Worker

    In another legislative move, Governor Hochul has approved a bill amending the definition of “clerical and other worker” in the New York Labor Law. Effective from March 13, 2024, this modification raises the minimum weekly earnings for bona fide executive, administrative, or professional employees to be excluded from the category of “clerical and other worker” from $900 to $1,300 per week.

    Impact on Direct Deposit and Benefit Recovery

    Employees meeting the revised exclusion are subject to mandatory direct deposit. Moreover, they are excluded from seeking recovery of “benefits or wage supplements,” encompassing reimbursement for expenses, health and retirement benefits, and vacation or holiday pay, as outlined in the Labor Law.

    In conclusion, these legislative changes reflect New York’s commitment to enhancing employee privacy, ensuring timely unemployment benefit information, and refining labor law definitions to align with economic realities. Employers are advised to familiarize themselves with these amendments to remain compliant with the evolving legal landscape.

    Disclaimer: This article provides general guidance and information. HR managers should consult with legal experts to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws when implementing these strategies.