Provides that an employer shall not diminish the benefits granted a participant, or for which such participant is eligible, under an employer welfare benefit plan as such plan was in existence at the time of the retirement of such participant; defines terms.
BILL NUMBER: S1571A
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the elder law, in relation to prohibiting a diminution of certain employee benefits
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : This bill adds a new Article 4 to the Elder Law to prohibit the diminution of the health care benefits of retired employees after they have retired, making any such diminution null and void as against state policy.
JUSTIFICATION : This measure requires that if an employer has made an agreement concerning health benefits for an employee, and the employee is retired and receiving benefits, the employer cannot then later unilaterally reduce the benefits.
This measure is much needed. Some employers, looking for areas in which to save money, have begun to reduce the health benefits to retired workers-the ones not represented at the bargaining table or employed as current employees.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : S.6559 of '06 - Aging, Rules
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE : 90 days after it becomes law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1571--A 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 3, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sens. GOLDEN, ALESI, BONACIC, DeFRANCISCO, FLANAGAN, LAVALLE, MAZIARZ, MORAHAN, PADAVAN, VOLKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Aging -- recommitted to the Committee on Aging in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the elder law, in relation to prohibiting a diminution of certain employee benefits THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The elder law is amended by adding a new article 4 to read as follows: ARTICLE 4 EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS SECTION 401. PROHIBITION AGAINST DIMINUTION OF BENEFITS. S 401. PROHIBITION AGAINST DIMINUTION OF BENEFITS. ANY OTHER PROVISION OF ANY OTHER LAW TO THE CONTRARY NOTWITHSTANDING, AN EMPLOYER SHALL NOT DIMINISH THE BENEFITS GRANTED A PARTICIPANT, OR FOR WHICH SUCH PARTIC- IPANT IS ELIGIBLE, UNDER AN EMPLOYEE WELFARE BENEFIT PLAN AS SUCH PLAN WAS IN EXISTENCE AT THE TIME OF THE RETIREMENT OF SUCH PARTICIPANT, AND WHICH APPLIED TO SUCH PARTICIPANT. ANY REDUCTION IN SUCH PLAN OR BENE- FITS TO SUCH PARTICIPANT IS HEREBY DECLARED NULL AND VOID AS AGAINST STATE POLICY. AS USED IN THIS ARTICLE: 1. THE TERMS "EMPLOYEE WELFARE BENEFIT PLAN" AND "WELFARE PLAN" HAVE THE SAME MEANING AS SUCH TERMS ARE DEFINED IN SECTION 1002 OF SUBTITLE A OF SUBCHAPTER I OF CHAPTER 18 OF USC TITLE 29. 2. "EMPLOYER" MEANS ANY PERSON ACTING DIRECTLY AS AN EMPLOYER, OR INDIRECTLY IN THE INTEREST OF AN EMPLOYER, IN RELATION TO AN EMPLOYEEEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD06343-03-0 S. 1571--A 2
BENEFIT PLAN; AND INCLUDES A GROUP OR ASSOCIATION OF EMPLOYERS ACTING FOR AN EMPLOYER IN SUCH CAPACITY. THE TERM EMPLOYER INCLUDES WITHOUT RESTRICTION ANY EMPLOYEE ORGANIZATION, AND PUBLIC, PRIVATE, OR NOT FOR PROFIT ENTITY OR ENTITIES, INDIVIDUAL OR INDIVIDUALS, INCLUDING ENTITIES OR INDIVIDUALS DOING BUSINESS AS, WHICH ARE ENGAGED IN ANY TRADE OR OCCUPATION WHICH EMPLOYS EMPLOYEES IN THIS STATE. 3. "EMPLOYEE" MEANS ANY INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYED BY AN EMPLOYER. 4. "PARTICIPANT" MEANS ANY FORMER EMPLOYEE OF AN EMPLOYER, OR ANY FORMER MEMBER OF AN EMPLOYEE ORGANIZATION, WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A BENEFIT OF ANY TYPE FROM AN EMPLOYEE WELFARE BENEFIT PLAN WHICH COVERS EMPLOYEES OF SUCH EMPLOYER OR MEMBERS OF SUCH ORGANIZATION, OR WHOSE BENEFICIARIES MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE ANY SUCH BENEFIT. 5. "EMPLOYEE ORGANIZATION" MEANS ANY LABOR UNION OR ANY ORGANIZATION OF ANY KIND, OR ANY AGENCY OR EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATION COMMITTEE, ASSOCI- ATION, GROUP OR PLAN, IN WHICH EMPLOYEES PARTICIPATE AND WHICH EXISTS FOR THE PURPOSE, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, OF DEALING WITH EMPLOYERS CONCERN- ING AN EMPLOYEE WELFARE BENEFIT PLAN OR OTHER MATTERS INCIDENTAL TO EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIPS; OR ANY EMPLOYEES' BENEFICIARY ASSOCIATION ORGANIZED FOR THE PURPOSE IN WHOLE OR IN PART, OF ESTABLISHING SUCH A PLAN. 6. "BENEFICIARY" MEANS A PERSON DESIGNATED BY A PARTICIPANT, OR BY THE TERMS OF AN EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN, WHO IS OR MAY BECOME ENTITLED TO A BENEFIT THEREUNDER. 7. "PERSON" MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL, PARTNERSHIP, JOINT VENTURE, CORPO- RATION, MUTUAL COMPANY, JOINT-STOCK COMPANY, TRUST, ESTATE, UNINCORPO- RATED ORGANIZATION, ASSOCIATION, OR EMPLOYEE ORGANIZATION. S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.