Independent contractors are counted as part of a company’s workforce for the purposes of Massachusetts’ family and medical leave law as well as New York City’s new sexual harassment training law.

Massachusetts. Independent contractors are counted as part of a company’s workforce for the purposes of Massachusetts’s family and medical leave law.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has issued proposed regulations regarding the law, which goes into effect on July 1. Under the proposed regulations, employers in Massachusetts with 25 or more covered employees must contribute 0.63% of qualified earnings to the state’s Family and Employment Security Trust Fund.

As defined by the proposed regulations, “covered employees” includes full-time, part-time and seasonal workers as well as independent contractors.

Employers of Massachusetts workers will be required to provide notice of the benefits to covered workers in advance of the effective date, to begin making contributions as of July 1, and to file their first mandatory quarterly reports in October.

Employers are permitted to up to 40% of the medical leave portion of the payment and up to 100% of the family leave from employees’ pay.

Companies that fail to make their required contributions will be assessed 0.63% of their total annual payroll for each year of nonpayment.

While temporary workers obtained through a staffing firm are not counted toward the workforce totals, programs may see increased costs associated with staffing firm’s obligations, as their temporary workers would be counted as part of their workforce calculations.

New York City. New York City’s sexual harassment training regulations went into effect this month, affecting employers in the city with 15 or more workers, including independent contractors.

Covered employers in New York City must provide annual, interactive sexual harassment prevention training to their employees, effective April 1.

While the city has provided training materials, employers may provide their own annual anti-sexual harassment training for employees provided that it includes the following elements:

  • An explanation of sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination under local law;
  • A statement that sexual harassment is also a form of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law;
  • A description of what sexual harassment is, using examples;
  • Any internal complaint process available to employees through their employer to address sexual harassment claims;
  • The complaint process available through the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including contact information;
  • The prohibition of retaliation including examples;
  • Information concerning bystander intervention, including but not limited to any resources that explain how to engage in bystander intervention; and
  • The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation, and measures that such employees may take to appropriately address sexual harassment complaints.