Features, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

Protecting NYC Workers: How Cities Can and Should Fill the Gap

January 9, 2019

By DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas

The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is committed to making sure that all New Yorkers are protected by workplace laws – including minimum wage, overtime, and paid safe and sick leave to ensure they are being paid for their hard work and can achieve financial stability.

In reality, very little has changed in workplace protections since the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Yes, this Act is the foundation of today’s workplace standards and provides us with the rights to a 40-hour workweek, minimum wage and overtime. But much has changed in the last 80 years, and these standards need to evolve to protect today’s workforce.

This is why DCA’s Office of Labor Policy & Standards exists. It is the largest municipal labor standards office in the country and the City’s central resource for workers. Through education, enforcement, and advocacy, we work to protect and promote labor standards and policies that create fair workplaces. Our office enforces a number of municipal workplace laws, including the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, and Fair Workweek Law.

We educate workers—as well as employers and the public—about local, state, and federal workplace protections to ensure everyone is aware of their rights and obligations. DCA also investigates complaints about violations of our workplace laws, and for other issues, we connect workers to relevant government agencies, legal service providers, and resources to help them access and protect their rights and get critical services.

Every month here in Labor Press, we will highlight current challenges in the industry and comment on the most pressing issues facing New York City workers. Through this column, we hope to bring a voice to the challenges facing the labor industry in New York City and propose policy solutions that work toward the development of a new generation of minimum labor standards.

Lorelei Salas is the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, which houses the City’s offices of Financial Empowerment. Learn more at nyc.gov/dca. 

 

January 9, 2019

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