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HR Alert: Cuomo’s New Order 75% Workforce Reduction

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UPDATE ON 3/19/2020:  Governor Cuomo announces at today’s press conference that he has increased the reduction in workforce from 50% to 75%. The new order will permit only 25% of a company’s workforce to be at a worksite.


After announcing at a press conference yesterday that he would issue an Executive Order reducing in-person workforces at companies by 50%, Governor Cuomo signed the Executive Order, which becomes effective at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020. The Executive Order encourages companies to allow as much telecommuting by its employees as possible. The Executive Order states that:
Each employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 50%.  Exceptions are made for essential services or functions. . . .

and several essential services are specifically listed in the Executive Order. For those businesses not specifically listed, they can seek an opinion from Empire State Development Corporation (“ESD”) no later today, March 19, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. about whether they can obtain an exception to have a full workforce.

As written, it is unclear whether an employer can have 50% of its workforce onsite at one time and a different 50% onsite at a different time — or if only the same 50% of workers must remain as the workforce. The phrase “at any work locations” also is not defined. This could mean the overall workforce must be reduced by 50% regardless of worksite or it could mean that at each location only 50% of the workforce can be at that location.

The Coppola Firm is seeking some clarity on the terms of this order. Any business that believes its functions should be deemed essential should contact an attorney to get an opinion from ESD. Contact The Coppola Firm at 716-839-9700 or info@coppola-firm.com for further assistance.

Lisa Coppola

Written by Lisa Coppola

Founder of The Coppola Firm

Lisa A. Coppola, Esq. understands the challenges her clients face, whether they’re starting a new business, taking their existing operations in a new direction, or facing a claim or threat.

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