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xAttention Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants: New York Business Express and the NYS100 registration application is only for New York State employers to use to register for UI coverage for their employees. To file a personal claim for UI, you must go online to www.labor.ny.gov/signin . Read more about how to file a claim and see a step-by-step guide to online filing.

Employer Information

This document contains useful information for employers.

	
		

Overview

If you hire staff for your business, New York as well as the Federal government have rules and regulations that you must follow. Listed below are some topics all employers should be aware of:

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR OR EMPLOYEE

When determining whether an individual is an employer or an independent contractor, there are vital distinctions to consider for both unemployment insurance and federal tax purposes. A person is an employee if they perform services under the supervision, direction and control of the employer. The direction would include specifications as to where, when and how the work is performed, as well as the final product. It is not necessary for the employer to exercise such control for the individual to be considered an employee; it is only necessary that the employer has the right to do so. Employers use IRS Form W-2 to report wages, tips and other compensation paid to an employee.

Conversely, independent contractors do not perform services under the supervision, direction and control of the employer, are often in business for themselves, and offer their services to the general public. IRS Form-1099–Misc, Miscellaneous Income, is usually issued to independent contractors to report payments made to them for their services. No taxes are withheld from monies paid.

For more information as to whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor, contact the NYS Department of Labor, Liability and Determination Section or visit their website. The Internal Revenue Service also provides information regarding the distinctions between employees and independent contractors. Form SS-8, Determination of Employees Work Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding, and Publication 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide, are linked below.

CORPORATE OFFICERS

For unemployment insurance (UI) purposes corporate officers and stockholders who perform services for the corporation are employees. Any payment they receive for such services is remuneration and is reportable and subject to contribution.

EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION (FORM I-9)

The Immigration Reform and Control Act made all U.S. employers responsible to verify the employment eligibility and identity of all employees hired to work in the United States. Employers must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) for all employees, including U.S. citizens. I-9 forms are not filed with the U.S. government. Employers must maintain I-9 records in their files for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date the employee's termination of employment. Employers must produce these documents upon inspections within three days. For more information, contact the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service or visit their website. The I-9 Form is linked below.

NYS GUIDE FOR EMPLOYERS

Employer's Guide to Unemployment Insurance, Wage Reporting, and Withholding Tax (NYS50) is a complete guide that describes to employers how to comply with unemployment insurance contribution, wage reporting, and withholding tax obligations (including New York City and Yonkers). It explains employer rights, responsibilities, filing requirements, and reporting new or rehired employees. For more information, contact the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance or visit their website. The NYS-50 Publication link is below.

PAYMENT OF WAGES

An employer's obligation to pay wages to his employees is defined in Article 6 of the NYS Labor Law. The frequency of payment of wages depends on the classification of the employee. Employers are required to maintain payroll records showing the hours worked, gross wages, payroll deductions and net wages for each employee and must furnish this information to employees with every payment of wages. No deductions may be made from wages paid to an employee except those required by law, government rules and regulations, and which are expressly authorized, in writing, by the employee.

Employers are required to provide his or her employees, in writing in English and in the language identified by each employee as their primary language of such employee, at the time of hiring, and on or before February first of each year of the employee's employment with the employer, a notice containing the following information: the rate or rates of pay and basis, the overtime rate of pay, if the employee is subject to overtime regulations, whether paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, etc.; any allowances the employer intends to claim as part of the minimum wage, including tip, meal, or lodging allowances; the regular pay day; the employer's name and any names under which the employer does business (DBA); the physical address of the employer's main office or principal place of business and, if different, the employer's mailing address; and the employer's telephone number. For more information on these requirements, visit the NYS Department of Labor's website under worker protection and labor standards. To view the NYS Department of Labor's LS-52, Guidelines for Written Notice of Rates of Pay and Regular Payday see the link below.

NEW HIRE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

All employers must report to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance certain identifying information about each newly hired or rehired employee working in New York State. Employers are required to report the employee's full name, full address, and social security number, as well as the employer's name, full address, and federal employer identification number (EIN) within 20 calendar days of the hiring date. Report this information on Internal Revenue Service form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. Employers must submit this new hire information to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, New Hire Notification, or by fax. Employers may also submit new hire information through the website. For inquiries regarding this responsibility, call the agency.

FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT TAXES

The Federal Income Tax Withholding, Social Security and Medicare Taxes (FICA) and the Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) are required federal employment taxes. The IRS' Publication, 'Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide,' explains employer's Federal tax responsibilities. For more information, contact the IRS, or the Social Security Administration or visit their websites.

INSURANCE OBLIGATIONS

Unemployment Insurance – The New York State unemployment insurance program, administered by the NYS Department of Labor, provides immediate, short-term financial protection for employees who are out of work through no fault of their own. It is financed by employers through mandatory contributions based on payroll. The Unemployment Insurance Law defines employment as any service, unless specifically excluded, performed for compensation under a contract of hire, whether the contract is expressed or implied, written or oral, and without regard to whether the service is performed on a part-time, full-time or casual basis. Contact the NYS Department of Labor or visit their website for more information or to apply online for unemployment insurance.

Worker's Compensation Insurance – Workers' compensation insurance is sold to employers to protect them from liability in the event of on-the-job injuries resulting in employee disability or death and to provide monetary relief and medical benefits to injured workers. Under New York law, an employer is obligated to provide workers' compensation in one of three ways: by insuring with a private insurance company, by self-insuring or by buying insurance through the NYS Insurance Fund. For more information on the NYS Insurance Fund call them or visit their website.

Disability Insurance – Employers with one or more employees are subject to the provisions of the New York State Disability Benefits Law. The law provides payment of cash benefits to employees who become disabled because of injuries or sicknesses which have no connection to their employment, and for disabilities arising from pregnancies. The Disability Benefits Law provides that an employer, who has in their employment one or more employees (except students in an elementary or secondary school and other specified categories) on each of at least 30 days in a calendar year, is considered to be a covered employer. Employers of personal or domestic employees in a private home require coverage if they employ one or more employees working 40 or more hours per week. Disability insurance may be obtained through a private insurance company or through the NYS Insurance Fund. For more information on the NYS Insurance Fund, contact their office or apply through their website.

HEALTH INSURANCE

Health insurance is a key benefit of employment. Most organizations with more than 100 employees have a group health insurance plan. Selecting the health insurance program most appropriate to the needs and resources of a small business is a complex task. Insurance professionals can guide you in making the best decision. The NYS Insurance Department, Consumer Services Bureau can answer inquiries concerning insurance. Contact them or visit their website. Healthy NY is a state-sponsored health insurance program for eligible businesses with 50 or fewer employees. For information pertaining to Healthy NY, see the link below.

RETIREMENT SAVINGS PLANS

Providing a retirement savings plan for yourself and your employees may help to attract and retain qualified employees as well as offer tax savings for your business. Most private sector retirement vehicles are either Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), defined contribution (DC) plans or defined benefit (DB) plans.

With an IRA, the amount that is received at retirement depends on the funding of the IRA and the earnings on those funds. Defined contribution plans do not promise a specific amount of benefits at retirement, while defined benefit plans promise a specific benefit at retirement. Some plans allow the employers, as well as the employees, to contribute to the retirement savings plan. Employees can contribute through payroll deductions.

Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business, Publication 3998, provides an overview of retirement plans available to small businesses. It is available from the IRS or find information at the link below. The U.S. Department of Labor has additional publications available also. Their link is below.

POSTING REQUIREMENTS

Some statutes and regulations enforced by agencies within the U.S. Department of Labor require that notices be posted in the workplace. Posting requirements vary by statute; not all employers are covered by each of the Department's statutes and thus may not be required to post a specific notice. For information on the U.S. Department of Labor requirements, contact them or visit their website. For information on New York State's posting requirements, contact a district office of the NYS Department of Labor by visiting their website.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION

Your business may need to comply with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. The NYS Department of Labor helps businesses comply with these OSHA standards. Some insurance carriers may also provide some technical assistance. For information on OSHA standards, contact the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration or visit their website at the link below. For information on the NYS Department of Labor, Division of Safety and Health Services, contact the Albany office or visit their website.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITY ACT

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. The ADA applies to all businesses with 15 or more employees. The Northeast ADA & IT Center at Cornell University helps employers understand and comply with the ADA. For more information, contact them or visit their website through the link below.

CLEAN INDOOR AIR ACT

Effective July 24, 2003, the amended NYS Clean Indoor Air Act (Public Health Law, Article 13-E) prohibits smoking in virtually all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The changes in the Act reflect the state's commitment to ensure the protection to all workers from secondhand smoke. Localities may continue to adopt and enforce local laws regulating smoking, however, these regulations must be at least as strict as the Clean Indoor Air Act. Compliance guides and information on exemptions and waivers to the smoking restrictions are available at the NYS Department of Health's website through the link below.

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