New York’s Warehouse Worker Protection Act (WWPA) has seen some significant amendments to several of its provisions and has had its official effective date pushed back.
The WWPA, which was signed into law Dec. 21, 2022, will now go into effect on June 19, 2023, rather than the previous date of Feb. 19, 2023. Several definitions have also been revised and there have been changes made to recordkeeping requirements and employees’ right to inspect quota records.
This law was created with the intent to protect warehouse workers from unlawful or undisclosed work speed quotas and includes protections for workers who fail to meet unlawful quotas, which legislators feel lead to worker ergonomics injuries.
Because of the change in the effective date, the deadline for providing a written description to employees regarding quotas within 30 days of the WWPA’s effective date has changed to July 19, 2023. The written description must also now be provided in the “language identified by each employee as the primary language of such employee.”
Employee, employer, distribution center get new definitions
According to law firm Littler Mendelson, the new amendments have revised several of the WWPA’s definitions, including:
- “employee” amended to clarify the law only applies to non-exempt employees under New York’s overtime law and to exclude “drivers or couriers to or from a warehouse distribution center”
- “employer” amended to increase the threshold for coverage for multiple warehouses across the state from 500 to 1,000 employees with threshold coverage at a single site remaining the same at 100 employees, and
- “warehouse distribution center” changed to exclude farm product warehouses.
Recordkeeping requirements replaced
The new amendments have replaced many of the previous recordkeeping requirements with a three-year requirement for “contemporaneous, true, and accurate records to ensure compliance with employee or commissioner requests for data.”
This isn’t defined but is likely to include descriptions of the quotas, personal work speed data and aggregate work speed data, Littler Mendelson states.
Employers get more time to respond to record requests
Under the new amendments, there is further clarification on an employee’s right to inspect quota records, including:
- the time for employers to respond to employee requests for records was extended from two business days to 14 calendar days
- former employees are limited to one request, and
- employer responses to requests for descriptions of quotas and work speed data are required to be provided in the requesting employee’s primary language.
Retaliation replaced with rebuttable presumption
The law’s retaliation provisions have been replaced with a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation for adverse actions taken against employees within 90 days of initiating a request for quota data or making a WWPA complaint under the new amendments.
There are no other specifics given regarding the rebuttable presumption. The effect this change may have on retaliation claims is unclear, according to Littler Mendelson.