Owning or managing a condo, or co-op building in New York is quite harder than what most people think. This is mainly due to stringent laws imposed by various authorities.
Notably, one of the new laws requires condo owners, and co-op boards to take their employees through anti-sexual harassment training. Another one prohibits testing for marijuana use while screening potential tenants. As the spring rolls by, there are 3 more proposed laws in the pipeline that are set to make things even harder for property managers. These include:
Election Day Rules
The first of the three is the amended state Election Law, which was effected on April 1, 2019. The law requires co-op and condo boards, and generally all employers in New York, to give at least 3 hours leave to employees registered as voters on election days. The 3 hours can be given at the start or end of the workday (at the employer’s discretion), and are subject to the employee giving the employer a 2-day notice. Further, condo and co-op boards are required to pay their employees during the time they’re off for voting purposes.
According to the law, employers should notify their employees about the laws and regulations governing election day leave at least 10 days before the election and the notice should remain until the polls close.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Decisions
The second change pertains to the New York City Human Rights Law, which was amended in May 2019 to include a protected category. Consequently, New York employers with more than 4 employees are obligated to not discriminate or victimize employees due to their sexual and reproductive health decisions. These decisions include things like family planning methods, abortion procedures, fertility-related decisions, and HIV testing and counseling.
For co-op boards and property managers, this essentially means you can’t deny your employees time off to go for or accompany their partners to, fertility treatments or HIV testing. Additionally, co-op and condo boards have to notify existing employees about the new amendments by 17th September 2019 and notify – in writing – all new employees of the same at the start of employment.
Lactation and Breastfeeding
The last, and perhaps most important of the new laws (to co-op boards and property managers) is the Lactation Law, which became effective on March 19, 2019. Under the law, employers with four or more employees are required to provide their female employees (particularly lactating mothers) with lactation rooms, where they can freely, and privately pump or express breast milk. Additionally, employers should give their employees a reasonable time per day to express breast milk in the lactation facilities.
According to the New York City Human Rights Commission, lactating mothers should be allowed two to three lactation breaks per 8-hour shift, with each break going for 15-30 minutes. Of course, additional time should be included in the breaks to account for the time it takes to get to the pumping room and to prepare the pumping materials. The lactation law also requires employees to come up with written lactation policies and distribute them to all their employees.
To avoid getting on the wrong side of the law, co-op and condo boards, and property managers at large, are advised to consult their attorneys for assistance.