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ALANYC | Newsletter | Message from ALA NYC President Nellie Lefteratos Message from ALA NYC President Nellie Lefteratos

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. – Warren Bennis

I am delighted to see 2016 off to an energetic start with a wide variety of program offerings. In the first quarter, we hosted luncheons, attended the ALA National Conference, had educational sessions and ended the quarter with our fabulous summer gathering. What better way to start the year?!

As Chapter President, I continue to focus our leadership efforts on sharing practical ways to better utilize our resources and platform to make a difference – professionally and personally — regardless of how new or seasoned we are. I believe the greatest value I receive from my membership is through involvement.

On June 15, 2016, we held an educational session titled “NY State and City Legal Developments: What Employers in NYC Need to Know.” Jessica Shpall Rosen, Esq., from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, was the presenter and our very own business partner, Knoll, Inc., provided breakfast and their venue to host the session. Over 33 members attended the morning session and I was delighted to see the huge turnout. The program encompassed the latest developments in NY Employment laws and what we should expect including the following:

Federal Law – Change to the Fair Labor Standards Act Regulations – On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor announced the first change to federal overtime rules since 2004. Effective December 1, 2016, there will be an increase in the base salary requirement to qualify as an exempt employee ($47,474, up from $35,100 for New York Employers). Also, increase in the base salary requirement to qualify as a “highly compensated employee” ($134,004, up from $100,000).

New York State Paid Family Leave – Effective January 1, 2018, employers must provide 12 weeks of paid, job-protected leave to employees who need a leave of absence to (1) care for a family member with a serious health condition, (2) bond with a new baby or a child after foster or adoptive placement, or (3) address family needs due to the active military duty of a close family member. All employees are eligible if they have worked 26 or more consecutive weeks for an employer. Leave may be intermittent (as low as one day). Employers must maintain health insurance benefits under the same terms and conditions that apply while the employee is working. Employers must allow eligible employees to choose whether to apply all or part of any accrued but unused paid time off during the state-mandated paid family leave period.

New York State Equal Pay Law – No employee may be paid less than an employee in the “same establishment” for equal work, performed under similar working conditions. To defend against a claim, employers must now show a “bona fide factor” other than sex (such as training or education.) Employers cannot prohibit employees from discussing wages or pay inequities.

These were just a few updates but the program covered a wide array of additional topics. If you want to receive the handout, please send an email to [email protected].

On June 15th, the Chapter also hosted the annual summer event at Rock & Reilly’s. Not only did the weather cooperate – but the venue was breathtakingly beautiful. Members and business partners mingled and enjoyed the ambiance, drinks and food. At the event, we held a successful drive and collected backpacks to benefit Volunteers of America of Greater New York. We collected 27 filled and 8 unfilled backpacks as well as 2 bags of miscellaneous supplies. We also collected donations totaling $1,075.00. Kudos to the Special Events Committee and Community Services Committee on a job well done!

On June 29, we held another educational session titled “Human Factors in the Workplace – Creating Spaces That Are More Naturally Human.” Bradford Tukey, Human Factors & Ergonomic Specialist with the Thrive Portfolio presented the session at Herman Miller, Inc. What is ergonomics? It is an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently with safety. Did you know that the most important thing in a room is not furniture – it’s the person?  Interestingly enough I was surprised to learn that most of us do not sit or stand properly while we work. This session was quite informative and I definitely learned a thing or two about proper posture while sitting at a desk.

The Business Partner sponsorship program for 2016-2017 is in full swing. This year’s program will be a shortened year (September 1 – March 31, 2017) to coincide with the new Chapter year. The Business Partner Program enables the Chapter to achieve its mission, which is to enhance the knowledge and professionalism of its members through high-quality educational programs in legal management. In return, we offer business partners exclusive access to our Chapter members through various advertising, educational, networking and community opportunities. We appreciate the continued support of our current business partners and look forward to working with new business partners as well.

As you can see, there are lots of things going on with the ALA NYC Chapter and more programs and events will be taking place in the coming months: a Business Partner Event in September, the annual Symposium in October and other monthly educational sessions.

I hope you continue to join me on this journey and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Nellie Lefteratos is the New York Office Administrator for Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP and the President of ALANYC. She can be reached at [email protected]