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Small business organization says support lacking for any revisions to New York’s gig worker laws | New York

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(The Center Square) – As New York works to emerge from the COVID-19 recession, there are questions about whether regulations of gig economy workers could be on Albany’s upcoming legislative agenda, and how that could impact economic recovery for businesses.

“If the pandemic has shown us one thing, it’s clear that flexibility is not only desirable but valuable for workers and businesses,” Greg Biryla, New York state director with the National Federation of Independent Business, told The Center Square.

“Limiting potential by putting rigid rules on small businesses … that could be problematic and only slow economic development, like in California with AB5,” Biryla said.

Biryla noted that in response to recent New York lawmaker proposals on regulating gig workers, an NFIB NY poll of members showed 70% opposing a law like AB5, and only 16% expressing support.

In the Nov. 3 election, California voters overwhelmingly supported the Proposition 22 ballot measure that will exempt ride-share drivers from AB5 mandates.

“What you saw in California was rejection of AB5’s strictly designed regulations,” Biryla said. “I think all stakeholders need to keep an eye on worker classification legislation, or we’ll end up in a situation like California, and under the unintended consequences of an AB5.”

Since its passage last year, dozens of professions have sought exemptions from AB5.

“It’s not just about app-based drivers,” Biryla said. “We have concerns with worker classification laws, and how it can expose mom and pop businesses on Main Street to ruinous lawsuits, confusing compliance regulations, and costly enforcement action – that is our biggest concern with worker classification.”

“Should Albany consider this, they really have to understand how it would spread across the economy for all types of businesses that utilize independent contracting,” Biryla said.

New York’s legislative work on the issue was halted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has since highlighted the need for entrepreneurship, Biryla said.

“As we begin economic recovery in New York post-COVID, the last thing they should be doing is limiting opportunities for workers,” Biryla said.

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Judge: Nevada jobless office in contempt in gig workers case | Business News

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RENO, Nev. (AP) — A state court judge held the Nevada unemployment office in contempt and gave it until the end of the month to comply with his July court order to resume paying pandemic relief benefits to almost 9,500 out-of-work gig workers and independent contractors.

“These people need to be paid,” Washoe County District Court Judge Barry Breslow declared Thursday as he imposed a $1,000 fine on the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported .

The judge scheduled a Dec. 31 compliance hearing and warned of additional action if the state doesn’t release Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds by Christmas.

Bradford McEwen, an independent contractor who had the pandemic payments frozen after 21 weeks, told the Review-Journal he was disappointed with the ruling. He said claimants deserve compensation for hours of fruitless calls to Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation hotlines.

Self-employed photographer Dave Cherkis is waiting to receive pandemic benefits that he filed for in May. He derided the nominal fine as “a Band-Aid on a compound fracture.”

Breslow’s order came in a lawsuit that attorney Mark Thierman filed in May on behalf of independent contractors and self-employed workers seeking immediate payment of pending pandemic claims.

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Judge: Nevada jobless office in contempt in gig workers case

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RENO, Nev. (AP) — A state court judge held the Nevada unemployment office in contempt and gave it until the end of the month to comply with his July court order to resume paying pandemic relief benefits to almost 9,500 out-of-work gig workers and independent contractors.

“These people need to be paid,” Washoe County District Court Judge Barry Breslow declared Thursday as he imposed a $1,000 fine on the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported .

The judge scheduled a Dec. 31 compliance hearing and warned of additional action if the state doesn’t release Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds by Christmas.

Bradford McEwen, an independent contractor who had the pandemic payments frozen after 21 weeks, told the Review-Journal he was disappointed with the ruling. He said claimants deserve compensation for hours of fruitless calls to Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation hotlines.



Self-employed photographer Dave Cherkis is waiting to receive pandemic benefits that he filed for in May. He derided the nominal fine as “a Band-Aid on a compound fracture.”


Breslow’s order came in a lawsuit that attorney Mark Thierman filed in May on behalf of independent contractors and self-employed workers seeking immediate payment of pending pandemic claims.

At the time, Nevada was the last state in the nation to begin taking applications for the pandemic payments.

State officials contended the jobless benefits office was battling rampant fraud and needed to determine the legitimacy of each claim before paying it out.


Breslow commissioned a 310-page report from a special hearing master that identified bottlenecks and breaks in processing payments for so-called gig workers.

The judge determined the swamped state unemployment office should not have decided that pandemic applicants were ineligible unless they completely ceased working.

His July 22 order said the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation could not stop paying pandemic claims, with exceptions for failing to meet certain eligibility benchmarks and suspected fraud, unless a worker received a hearing or was provided some means to protest.

As of Nov. 21, nearly 650,000 claims were filed and 74,000 Nevadans continued to receive pandemic payments since the program rolled out in May, the Review-Journal reported.

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Elgin singer one of first to get back on stage for live gig

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AN ELGIN singer will be one of the first local acts to get back to gigging this weekend at an Inverness venue.

Live music is returning to a second city venue this weekend as The Botanic House gets ready to welcome back performers and music fans.

Singer Colleen Murphy (36), from Elgin’s Barlink Road, will kick off the first night line-up on Saturday, December 6, at 5pm.

Colleen said: “It’s been a long and hard road for all us entertainers.

“This is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I want to wish everyone to ‘break a leg’ over the next few weeks and welcome all from tier 1 to join us. Let the music play.”

The Castle Street venue, which opened just over a year ago, has had strict Covid-19 procedures in place since its post-lockdown return in September.

Further precautions have now been taken, including social distancing at all times within the venue, to allow a return to live music.

Elgin-based singer Colleen Murphy.
Elgin-based singer Colleen Murphy.

The return of live gigs will be music to the ears for local acts – many of whom have found themselves out of work for nine months.

The Botanic House general manager Tom Wilding said: “We are really excited to get live music back into The Botanic, as a live music and entertainment venue.

“The past months have been challenging with the constantly changing restrictions.

“In true Highland spirit though, we have risen to the challenge, reinventing ourselves to give our loyal customers a great venue with new and exciting food and drink options to enjoy.”

Gigs are planned until the end of the year.

Last month fellow Inverness venue The Ironworks held what was believed to be the first live indoor show in Scotland since lockdown in March when folk-rock band Torridon performed to a socially distanced audience of 100 people.

Back in April, Colleen, a full-time social work student at the Robert Gordon University, raised nearly £500 for Moray Women’s Aid by staging an online gig from her living-room.


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