|SAME AS||SAME AS S08389-C|
|COSPNSR||Englebright, Steck, Simon, Aubry, Wallace, Clark, Sayegh, Sillitti, Davila, Burdick, Reyes, Gibbs, Solages, Abinanti, Cruz, Thiele, Glick, Rosenthal L, Colton, Lunsford, Otis, Gottfried|
|Add Art 34 §§1000 - 1002, Lab L|
|Relates to certification of public employment for purposes of the federal public service loan forgiveness program; requires public employers to provide certain notices and program forms; provides that an average of 30 hours per week shall be considered full-time for purposes of certifying public employment under the federal program.|
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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A9523B SPONSOR: Epstein
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the labor law, in relation to certification of employ- ment with public service employers for purposes of the federal public service loan forgiveness program   PURPOSE: This legislation clarifies what it means for full-time employment for the purposes of the public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) program.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends the labor law by adding a new article 34 titled "certification of public service employment." Section 1000 provides definitions for "certifying employment," "employ- ee," "full-time," "public service employer," "public service loan forgiveness form," and "Public service loan forgiveness program." Section 1001 stipulates the hours worked for full-time employment for the purposes of the public service loan forgiveness program. Section 1002 allows public service employers to certify employment for individuals or groups of employees with the U.S. Department of Education directly. A public service employer who chooses not to directly certify with the U.S. Department of Education must annually provide notice of renewal and a copy of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Form, with employer information already completed, to employees who request the form, employees who previously certified employment, and employees ending their employment with the public service employer. Section 2 contains a severability clause. Section 3 states the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a federal program that rewards and incentivizes public service work by cancelling a portion of borrow- ers' federal student loans. The program requires borrowers to be full- time employees of an eligible public service employer and make 120 qual- ifying payments towards their student loan, after which the remainder of their federal student loan debt is forgiven. This bill addresses several well-documented barriers to entry to PSLF, ranging from inconsistent program term definitions to confusion about program eligibility. To combat these issues, this legislation provides several definitions to clarify the confusion associated with this requirement and would enact changes at the state level to leverage participation by New Yorkers in this federal student loan debt forgive- ness program. Under federal rules for the program, full-time means the greater of 30 hours or the employer's definition of full-time. As a result, there is no uniformity for what makes an employee full-time across different eligible public service employers, including government organizations and 501(c) (3) organizations. The U.S. Department of Education has recognized this inconsistency across public service employers and has proposed changing the program rules to a flat 30 hours per week standard for all borrowers. However, federal rulemaking is a slow process and any delay in a change to this standard will continue to bar otherwise eligible public service workers from this loan forgiveness program. Critically, the regulations already permit already permit employers to adopt a 30 hour per week standard but does not require it. This bill would, for the purpose of accessing PSLF only, require employers to use a 30 hour per week stand- ard when certifying employees work with the U.S. Department of Educa- tion. This bill does not impose a different standard for "full time" employment for any other aspect of employer and employee relations. Also, in recognition of the fact that non-tenure teachers and educators across the state work many hours in excess of their contracted hours in order to prepare for class, grade student work, and meet with students, the bill requires employers to multiply the number of in-class hours of employment by a multiple of 3.35, for the purpose of PSLF only. Without this provision, educators in New York who practically work more hours than their contracts reflect are unable to claim those additional work hours toward PSLF eligibility. These excess hours may move an educator past the 30-hour threshold required for PSLF. Educators across the coun- try and several states, including California and Oregon, have already passed legislation similar to this bill that use the 3.35 multiplier to ensure educators receive the credit they are due. As with the "full time" standard, the multiplying of credit hours is limited to PSLF employment certification only, and has no bearing on other employer and employee relations. Finally, PSLF currently requires borrowers to submit paperwork to certi- fy their qualifying employment to the U.S. Department of Education. However, in 2021, the Department announced that it would begin to auto- mate the certification and forgiveness process for federal public service workers and welcomes the opportunity to do the same for other public services workers by partnering with other government and non-pro- fit employers. To facilitate this process, this bill would clarify that employers are permitted to share with the U.S. Department of Education the employment data necessary to certify PSLF eligibility. It would also clarify employers' important role in the PSLF program. Each of these steps, once enacted, will help more New Yorkers access the PSLF program. If passed in 2022, the bill would also help New Yorkers take advantage of the time-limited opportunity announced by the U.S. Department of Education to receive credit for PSLF loan forgiveness for periods of repayment that were previously ineligible. This opportunity ends after October 2022.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately; provided that the superintendent of financial services shall be required to develop and make available materials required pursuant to subdivision 1 of section three of this act no later than 60 days after such effective date; public service employers shall be required to comply with subdivisions 2 and 3 of section three of this act no later than 120 days after such effective date; and public service employers shall be required to comply with paragraph b of subdivision 2 of section four of this act no later than January 1, 2023.
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STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 9523--B R. R. 349 IN ASSEMBLY March 16, 2022 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. EPSTEIN, ENGLEBRIGHT, STECK, SIMON, AUBRY, WALLACE, CLARK, SAYEGH, SILLITTI, DAVILA, BURDICK, REYES, GIBBS, SOLAGES, ABINANTI, CRUZ, THIELE, GLICK, L. ROSENTHAL, COLTON, LUNS- FORD, OTIS, GOTTFRIED -- read once and referred to the Committee on Labor -- reported and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- reported and referred to the Commit- tee on Rules -- amended on the special order of third reading, ordered reprinted as amended, retaining its place on the special order of third reading AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to certification of employ- ment with public service employers for purposes of the federal public service loan forgiveness program The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. The labor law is amended by adding a new article 34 to read 2 as follows: 3 ARTICLE 34 4 CERTIFICATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYMENT 5 Section 1000. Definitions. 6 1001. Hours worked and full-time employment. 7 1002. Certifying employment. 8 § 1000. Definitions. For purposes of this article: 9 1. "Certifying employment" means either completing the employer 10 sections of the public service loan forgiveness form or sharing data 11 directly with the U.S. department of education that corresponds to the 12 information required for the public service loan forgiveness form. 13 2. "Employee" means someone who works for a public service employer, 14 regardless of whether the public service employer considers that work to 15 be full-time or part-time, contingent, or contracted. 16 3. "Full-time" for the purpose of certifying employment only means 17 working at least an average of thirty hours per week or at least an 18 average of thirty hours per week throughout a contractual or employment 19 period of at least eight months in a twelve-month period, such as EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14644-08-2A. 9523--B 2 1 elementary and secondary school teachers, provided, however, that should 2 the U.S. department of education adopt a lower hourly standard, that 3 standard shall apply. 4 4. "Public service employer" means any employer designated as a public 5 service organization or employer by the U.S. department of education for 6 the purpose of the public service loan forgiveness program. The term 7 shall include any state, county, city or other local government employ- 8 er, including any office, department, independent agency, school 9 district, public college or university system, public library system, 10 authority, or other body, including the legislature and the judiciary, 11 as well as any employer that has received designation as a tax-exempt 12 organization pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue 13 Code. For the purposes of this article, this term does not include a 14 federal or tribal nation government organization, agency, or entity. 15 5. "Public service loan forgiveness form" means the form used by the 16 U.S. department of education to certify an individual's employment at a 17 public service organization and determine eligibility for the purposes 18 of the public service loan forgiveness program. 19 6. "Public service loan forgiveness program" means the federal loan 20 forgiveness program established pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 1087e(m) and 21 administered pursuant to 34 C.F.R 685.219, as of the effective date of 22 this article. 23 § 1001. Hours worked and full-time employment. The following shall 24 apply for the purposes of certifying employment for the purposes of the 25 public service loan forgiveness program only and shall have no other 26 applicability for public service employers and their employees. 27 1. For faculty or teacher employees, a public service employer certi- 28 fying employment after the effective date of this subdivision shall 29 credit 3.35 hours worked for each hour of lecture or classroom time, 30 regardless of when the hours were worked, including hours worked prior 31 to the effective date of this subdivision. This subdivision does not 32 supersede any greater adjustment factor established by a collective 33 bargaining agreement or employer policy in recognition of additional 34 work associated with lecture or classroom time for the purpose of the 35 public service loan forgiveness program. 36 2. When determining whether an employee is considered "full-time," as 37 that term is defined in this article, for the purpose of certifying 38 employment for the public service loan forgiveness program only, a 39 public service employer shall not treat any adjusted total hours worked 40 pursuant to subdivision one of this section differently from hours 41 worked without an adjustment factor. 42 3. For the purpose of certifying employment only, a public service 43 employer shall consider as "full-time" any employee who satisfies the 44 definition of "full-time" provided in this article. 45 § 1002. Certifying employment. 1. Should the U.S. department of educa- 46 tion permit public service employers to certify employment for past or 47 present individual employees or groups of employees directly with the 48 U.S. department of education or its agents, notwithstanding other 49 provisions of law, a public service employer shall be permitted to send 50 to the U.S. department of education or its agents the information 51 necessary for employment certification. 52 2. If a public service employer does not directly certify employment 53 with the U.S. department of education pursuant to subdivision one of 54 this section, the public service employer shall annually provide notice 55 of renewal and a copy of the public service loan forgiveness form withA. 9523--B 3 1 the employer information and employment certification sections of the 2 form already completed to: 3 a. an employee who requests a public service loan forgiveness form; 4 b. any current employee for whom the public service employer has 5 previously certified employment; and 6 c. an employee who is ending his or her work with the public service 7 employer. 8 The partially completed form should reflect employment for the prior 9 calendar year, and may reflect longer periods of employment, as neces- 10 sary. 11 3. A public service employer shall not unreasonably delay in certify- 12 ing employment. 13 4. Nothing in this section shall prevent a public service employer 14 from seeking permission from its employees prior to certifying their 15 employment. 16 § 2. Severability. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part 17 of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to 18 be invalid and after exhaustion of all further judicial review, the 19 judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, 20 but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, para- 21 graph, section or part of this act directly involved in the controversy 22 in which the judgment shall have been rendered. 23 § 3. This act shall take effect immediately; provided that: 24 a. public service employers shall be required to comply with paragraph 25 a of subdivision 2 of section 1002 of the labor law as added by section 26 one of this act no later than sixty days after such effective date; and 27 b. public service employers shall be required to comply with paragraph 28 b of subdivision 2 of section 1002 of the labor law as added by section 29 one of this act no later than January 1, 2023.