January 16, 2018
Commissioner, Roberta Reardon
New York State Department of Labor
W.A. Harriman Campus
Albany, NY 12240
RE: Comments from the New York State Bus Distributors Association — Response to Employee Scheduling (Call-In/On-Call) Pay Proposed Rules — Minimum Wage Order for Miscellaneous Industries and Occupations (12 NYCRR Part 142 at §§ 142-2.3 & 3.3)
Dear Commissioner Reardon,
My name is Paul Daniels, President of the New York State Bus Distributors Association, I am providing testimony on behalf of the NYS Bus Distributors Association, in response to the New York State Department of Labor’s proposed rulemaking, which will provide stricter control over private-sector employee “on-call” or “call-in” scheduling and compensation.
While we appreciate the New York State Department of Labor’s mission to protect New York’s labor force from unscrupulous employers, we respectfully ask that our industry be exempted from the proposed employee scheduling rules. Our industry is built on sound labor practices that takes into account the needs of our employees. Our call-in/on-call employees request and require flexibility in their schedules given many of them have family responsibilities, are retired, or have other job obligations that requires the current employment engagement we have with them.
At the very least, we ask that the Department of Labor (DOL) provide a waiver process for our industry in the event that these proposed rules become effective.
The New York State Bus Distributors Association (NYSBDA) represents companies that provide necessary and valuable services to school districts and private school bus contractors. We are part of an industry that helps provide safe school buses to over 2.3 million children each school day. New York’s bus distributors employ approximately 1,000 people across the state who support New York’s fleet of nearly 50,000 school buses. We are a small industry; made up of small family-owned businesses that provide important service, maintenance, training, and support to almost every school district in the state. We help save school districts, the state and taxpayers millions of dollars each year by providing services efficiently, while providing excellent wages and benefits to our employees.
Operationally, bus distributors must respond to school bus breakdowns and service calls with very short notice from the school district, which requires that we employ part-time employees that can be activated with as little as a few hours-notice. In addition, the people we hire for these types of positions request and require flexible work schedules.
Our industry is made up of small businesses with limited resources. An employee scheduling paradigm shift, such as what is being proposed by DOL, will impose significant costs and burdens on bus distributors across the state who will need to do wholesale changes to their human resource departments and processes. Changing the call-in/on-call rules will require our industry to purchase expensive human resource management equipment and software to establish or update our processes to conform to the proposed rule changes. In addition, we will incur significant legal, accounting, and human resource training costs. Some of our smaller members will actually have to hire human resource experts to conform to these rule changes.
All these added expenses will ultimately lead to an increase in the price of school buses and the service we provide in New York State. The proposed rule changes will also force us to change our hiring practices and make it harder for us to find employees who require more flexible working environments and schedules. It is already difficult to find part-time drivers to deliver buses to our school district customers, these changes will simply exacerbate this growing problem.
We estimate that DOL’s proposed employee scheduling rules will unnecessarily cost school districts and taxpayers millions of dollars with virtually no benefit to employees who value their current work schedule flexibilities and choices. While many of our employees are fulltime, part of our workforce requires the flexibility, which is currently afforded under New York State law, to properly service our school district customers.
DOL’s proposed “call-in/on-call” rules will create a significant hardship and are unnecessary for New York’s bus distributor industry; and therefore, we believe we should be exempted from DOL’s proposed rule changes.
Thank you for your time and effort and we are available to provide additional industry information and insight if necessary.
Paul Daniels, President, New York School Bus Distributors Association