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New NY law lets workers propose hours cut instead of layoffs



Albany, New York — Under a law that Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Saturday, workers facing layoffs in New York state now have a right to ask their employers instead to trim all workers’ hours and have unemployment insurance helps offset the losses for everyone.

The measure is known as the “Shared Work Program.”

It already exists in New York but hasn’t been very widely utilized. During the pandemic’s first year nearly 2,700 employers statewide were newly enrolled in the program.

According to the new legislation, workers can petition employers to launch shared work instead of laying people off or rehiring only some of the workforce after a prior layoff. The employer has to respond to the request but doesn’t have to grant it.

The law also prohibits retaliating against workers who ask for the arrangement.

“We need to make sure our recovery efforts focus on supporting workers,” Hochul, a Democrat, said in a release.

According to State Sen. Shelley Mayer, a Yonkers Democrat who sponsored the legislation, it would help New Yorkers “get back to work and build back stronger from the pandemic.”