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NY Warehouse Worker Protections Become Effective

The New York Warehouse Worker Protection Act (WWPA) (Senate Bill 8922A) will go into effect on February 19, 2023. The WWPA was signed into law on December 21, 2022. The WWPA requires employers to provide a written description of quotas to which employees are subject, including the associated consequences for failing to meet any such quota and a statement that employees cannot be required to meet quotas that prevent compliance with meal or rest periods, or use of bathroom facilities.

Covered Employers

The law would apply to “warehouse distribution centers” with more than 100 “non-exempt and non-administrative” employees at single site, or more than 500 of such employees across multiple distribution centers in New York.

Notice Requirements

Written description of any quotas must be provided to employees upon hire or within 30 days of the WWPA’s effective date, and within two business days of any quota changes.

Non-Retaliation Provisions

The WWPA would establish a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation for any adverse actions, including discipline or termination, taken within 90 days of an employee’s request for records under the WWPA or complaint of a perceived violation of the WWPA, including complaints made “mistakenly but in good faith.”

Recordkeeping Requirements

The law would impose additional recordkeeping requirements on covered employers by requiring them to keep records of each employee’s “own personal work speed data,” the “aggregated work speed” for “similar employees” at the same establishment, and the written descriptions/notice of the quota employees previously were provided.

These records must be retained for the duration of employment for active employees. Upon separation from employment, records of the six months prior to separation must be retained for a three-year period from the date of a covered employee’s separation from employment.

In addition to being available to inspectors at the New York State Department of Labor (DOL), current and former employees would have the right to request copies of such records for themselves as well as aggregated data for similar employees.

Failure to Comply

Penalties for violations of the WWPA, which include providing written descriptions of quotas to both current and former employees, range from up to $1,000 for the first violation, $2,000 for the second violation, and $3,000 for all subsequent violations.

Next Steps for Employers

The WWPA creates significant obligations on covered warehouse employers. As a result, covered employers should take necessary steps to ensure compliance with the new law, including ensuring that they are not setting unreasonably demanding work quotas, disclosing work speed data to all employees, and protecting workers from adverse employment actions, such as discipline or termination, because they failed to meet undisclosed speed quotas or quotas that don’t allow for proper breaks.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.