The News. New York reached a $168.3 billion budget agreement for the new fiscal year, which began Sunday. Lawmakers worked into the early morning hours on Saturday voting on the final spending plan, which did NOT include an increase in the insurance fines.
Why it Matters. The Governor's proposed budget would have increased fines under the Insurance Law from $1,000 per offense to $10,000. This substantial and unwarranted increase would have hit insurance producers particularly hard, even forcing some out of business for a simple misstep.
Our Stance. Big I New York worked hard to fight off the proposed increase and we are happy that our efforts paid off.
New Sexual Harassment Rules Included in Final Budget Deal.
The News. The budget includes new sexual harassment rules that will affect all private employers in the state. These include
- Prohibiting employers from using mandatory arbitration provisions in employment contracts related to sexual harassment.
- Prohibiting employers from requiring non-disclosure agreements in settlements unless it's the victim's choice
- The Department of Labor will create a model sexual harassment policy for employers to adopt or to use to establish their own policy. Every employer must adopt a sexual harassment policy that must meet minimum standards.
- The Department of Labor will create a model sexual harassment prevention training program. Every employer must use the training program or establish its own program that meets minimum standards. The training must be provided to all employees annually.
Why It Matters. Since our Big I New York members are also employers, the new requirements will affect them. They will also affect your customers.
Our Stance. Big I New York will work to help educate our members on the new rules and help them comply.
Voluntary Retirement Savings Program Established.
The News. The budget also includes authorization for the New York State Secure Choice Savings Program, a voluntary program for private employers that do not already offer a retirements savings plan to their employees. Participation is voluntary for both businesses and employees.
Why It Matters. Producers that offer qualified retirement plans should be aware of the state option. Producers that don't offer a qualified retirement plan to their own employees should also be aware of the option.
Our Stance. Big I New York will help educate its members about the new option.
Optional Payroll Tax Makes It into the Budget.
The News. An optional employer-side payroll tax was included in the final budget deal. The option had been included to compensate for the loss of the state and local tax deductibility under federal law.
Why It Matters. Big I New York members may want to opt into the new tax plan
Our Stance. We will educate members about the new option.
Senate Passes CE Credit Bill.
The News. Last week the Senate passed. S.3960/A.7012, a bill the Big I New York supports. The bill would allow membership in a statewide professional association to be used as six credits of a producer's continuing education requirements.
Why It Matters. Big I New York members would be able to use their membership in the association towards their CE requirements.
Our Stance. Big I New York supports this legislation and is advocating for its advancement in the Assembly.
Jill Muratori, Esq.