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A09523 Summary:

BILL NOA09523B
 
SAME ASSAME AS S08389-C
 
SPONSOREpstein
 
COSPNSREnglebright, Steck, Simon, Aubry, Wallace, Clark, Sayegh, Sillitti, Davila, Burdick, Reyes, Gibbs, Solages, Abinanti, Cruz, Thiele, Glick, Rosenthal L, Colton, Lunsford, Otis, Gottfried
 
MLTSPNSR
 
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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A09523 Memo:

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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A09523 Text:



 
                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.
                                                                   LBD14644-08-2

        A. 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 with

        A. 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.
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