Proposed Labor Regulations Are Out Of Touch With How Businesses Operate

It must be nice to be a bureaucrat in the state Labor Department.

The department’s proposed changes to on-call scheduling rules, backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are perfectly fine for bureaucratic beancounters who work a set schedule from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday every week.

The Labor Department has proposed giving workers in many industries up to four hours of “call-in” pay if their shifts are canceled within 72 hours of the start time while employees called in to work without getting at least 14 days notice would get an extra two hours of pay.

Businesses shouldn’t make a habit of changing schedules on the fly, but we have a feeling businesses that do so too often find themselves losing valued workers on a regular basis. The state’s proposed regulations are a massive overreaction that will cripple businesses who do their best to treat their employees fairly.

Real life is far from the one pictured by the Labor Department’s pencil pushers and Gov. Cuomo. In the real world, one employee calling in sick means another employee is asked to change their schedule on the fly. Freak occurrences — like last week’s snowstorms and crippling cold — mean a business will have to be closed or lose significant amounts of money staying open just to watch the snowflakes fall. As long as there is unpredictable weather, sick children, jury duty, car trouble, elderly parents, emergencies at home or people taking a hard-earned vacation, businesses will need to have some flexibility in filling schedules.

The Labor Department would do well to remember that. Not everyone works in the cushy world of state government. As we noted last week, the state spent $86 million over three years earlier this decade to declare to the world that New York is open for business. So, readers, we ask you, is New York state opening the door for businesses to come to New York state, or holding the door open for businesses to leave?