Pending Legislation Impacts Credit Unions

June 20, 2013 at 6:45 am Leave a comment

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With the Legislature entering its last couple of days, bills are now passing with the conveyor belt rapidity that typically marks the end of New York’s Legislative Sessions.  Here are some of the issues to keep an eye on as the session winds down.

S. 2089/A.3510 would allow state charters to serve  multiple common bonds within a credit union’s field of membership. For instance, Acne Credit Union has a Select Employee Group of employees who work for the ABC manufacturing company in the Village of Pleasantville.  If this bill passes, it could seek the Department of Financial Service’s  approval  to add the residents of Pleasantville to its field of membership.  Contrary to some of the information that has been floated in opposition to the bill, no one could be served under this bill who isn’t already eligible to be a credit union member:  it simply increases the number of credit unions a member is eligible to join.

Another bill of interest to credit unions -S.5145/A.7341 – was already passed by the Legislature earlier this week.  It authorizes financial institutions to raffle off prizes to members who agree to open up savings accounts or buy certificates of deposit.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, this bill is a great way to encourage people to save their money rather than just throwing it away for the joy of tearing up losing lottery tickets.

One bill that your HR person should keep an eye on  is S.5872.  While existing state and federal law already outlaws pay discrimination based on an employee’s sex, state law does permit pay differentials to be based on any other lawful factor other than sex.  Legislation advocated for by the Governor since his State-of-the-State Address in January would narrow this exception, permitting pay differentials between employees of different sexes to exist only on the basis of  “a bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience.” Under the bill whatever factor used by the employer would have “to be job-related with respect to the position in question” and  “consistent with business necessity.”  Finally, not even this exception would apply when the employee “demonstrates (A) that an employer uses a particular employment practice that causes a disparate impact on the basis of sex, (B) that an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose and not produce such differential, and (C) that the employer has refused to adopt such alternative practice.”

Although much of this language mirrors existing federal requirements,  by seeking to clarify the parameters of an employer’s discretion regarding pay issues the bill would present new challenges.  In addition, by authorizing a successful plaintiff to collect damages up to three times an employee’s lost wages for “willful violations,” the bill is designed to make sure that there is no shortage of legal aid  for employees who may not be able to afford an attorney.

By tomorrow morning we should know if the Legislature acted on most of these bills, so stay tuned and remember although it can be pretty gruesome watching sausage being made, if it’s made properly it tastes great.

 

 

Entry filed under: Advocacy, Compliance, HR, Legal Watch, New York State. Tags: , , , , , .

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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., Associate General Counsel, Credit Union Association of New York

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