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Support for, and protection of, diverse workers, along with providing access for job-generating small businesses, are critical for local growth.  We’ve taken steps over the last year that are advancing the interests of workers and the countless people who depend on them.

In 2016, the Council passed legislation requiring 90-day retention periods for grocery store, food service, and building service employees when their business or building is sold to a new owner. This allows new owners time to fairly evaluate workers’ performance and keep them on if satisfied.

Last April, the Council passed legislation reforming the for-hire vehicle (FHV) industry to benefit both customers and the hard-working drivers who serve them. The legislation requires car companies to provide accurate fare quotes ahead of time at a customer’s request and to protect any passenger data that is collected; creates a universal FHV driver’s license; abolishes the English proficiency exam for FHV licenses; increases penalties for illegal street hails; and allows black cars that pass inspections to stay in service longer.

In a city where people of color are the majority, achieving economic justice and reducing income inequality means helping more minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) to get off the ground and increasing their share of contracts with the City. That’s why the Council established an M/WBE Advisory Board and created or amended a range of reporting requirements to provide more transparency around the City’s contracts with M/WBEs.

First announced by Speaker Mark-Viverito in her 2016 State of the City Address, the Council enacted legislation that will create a Division of Paid Care within the NYC Office of Labor Standards. The Council also passed legislation requiring the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) to develop and conduct a survey of unpaid caregivers and service providers to assess existing services and to identify their needs. Using this information, DFTA will develop a comprehensive action plan. Finally, in one of the first laws passed in 2016, the Council prohibited employment discrimination based on someone’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver.

In December 2016, the Council passed the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, the first law in the nation establishing protections specifically for freelance workers, including requiring written contracts, enhancing the legal remedies available to freelance workers, and establishing new penalties for stiffing these independent workers.

The Council also funded the New Immigrant Community Empowerment’s New York City Day Laborer Workforce Initiative (DLWI). This $500,000 initiative supports the development of existing day laborer centers in the City and expansion of centers into all the boroughs. The DLWI coalition consists of numerous non-profit organizations and, as of June 2016, the Centers had assisted 1,800 day laborers with filing wage theft, skills building and job referrals, among other help.