Updated Unemployment Benefits in NY Labor Law

Submission Date:


[NOTE: This submission is based on real-life questions about the new requirement imposed by New York State Labor Law Section 590(2).]

I heard that as of November 13, 2023, ALL employers in New York must notify an employee of the ability to apply for Unemployment Benefits upon "separation of employment" OR if their regular weekly hours are reduced to below 30.  I have several questions:

Is this true?

Does this new law really apply to ALL employers in New York (even a town or village public library)?

Does the new law apply even if the employee is resigning or retiring?

Does the new law apply to no-show employees or others who may have abandoned their employment?

Is there a form for this notice?

When does this notice have to be provided?

Why was this law passed?

Is there a model policy for this law?


Great questions!

Let's tackle[1] them:

Is this true?

Yes.  If you would like to look up the text of the law, which went into effect on November 13th, 2023, you can find it here: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/LAB/590.

Does this new law really apply to ALL employers in New York (even a town or village public library)?

Yes.  Unlike other sections of the Labor Law, which sometimes define "employer" in a way that can exclude certain public libraries, the new Section 590(2) is part of Article 18 (“Unemployment Insurance Law”) of the Labor Law; Article 18 applies to ALL employers in New York State, even government entities.

Does this new law apply even if the employee is resigning or retiring?

Yes.  It also applies of the employee was on a contract that expired, was on a grant that ran out, was a seasonal employee, or any of a number of other reasons why a person who once has a job no longer has a job.[2]  Basically, if an employee is no longer an employee, or if an employee's hours have been cut to below 30, the notice must be provided.

Does this new law apply to no-show employees, those who requested to work less hours, or others who may have abandoned their employment?

Yes.  Even when an employee quits by attrition, asks to work below 30 hours a week, or goes away on vacation and never comes back,[3] an employer must determine what date is the date they were "separated" from employment, or the effective date of the reduction, and give the required notice.

Is there a form for this notice?


The New York Department of Labor's newly revised "Record of Employment" form can be found at https://dol.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2023/11/ia12.3_0.pdf.

When does this notice have to be provided?

The new law requires employers to provide the notice "upon separation."  The DOL form's instructions say to "give this form to anyone who is permanently, indefinitely, or temporarily laid off; discharged; quits; or has their hours reduced to 30 or less each week"—with no mention of precise timing.

For that reason, until there is further guidance, the notice must be given as soon as possible.

For those whose status change is easy to pinpoint (for instance, when an employer tells an employee their job has been eliminated), the completed form should be given at the same time as the notice of termination. 

For slightly less definitive situations—such as when an employee fails to show up but doesn't call or quit—the completed form should be mailed[4] as soon as the failure to show up is converted to a termination.

This means a few things:

First, it means that if an employer has been a bit loosey-goosey[5] about when people are "separated from employment",[6] they need to tighten things up going forward.

Second, it means that if a public library has been a bit unclear on who provides the unemployment insurance (the library? … the municipality?), clarity on that topic must be achieved (and demonstrated via the "Record of Employment" form).

Third, for those employers who maintain a checklist of items to do when an employee is "separated from employment" (return keys, terminate passwords, update website and social media access, etc.), the "Record of Employment" form can be a new item on the "to-do" list.

Fourth, for those employers who must follow Labor Law Section 195(6),[7] your organization is already obligated to confirm separation of employment in writing within 5 days of the date of termination.  For employers obligated to provide this "195(6) letter", the "Record of Employment form" information regarding the last date of employment should be consistent with the information in the 195(6) letter.[8] 

Why was this law passed?

When considering this law, the New York State Assembly wrote in the legislative memo:

Many workers, when laid off or subject to a reduction in working hours, do not realize they are eligible for unemployment assistance.  Particularly in the case of partial unemployment assistance there is a lack of awareness about eligibility. To compound this issue, employers are disincentivized from informing their employees about eligibility because their unemployment insurance payments may increase when employees or former employees file for unemployment assistance. In the wake of catastrophic job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clearer than ever that underemployed workers need robust public support mechanisms to weather an economic storm.  By requiring employers to inform employees who are laid off, or who have had their hours reduced, of their potential eligibility for unemployment assistance, this bill bestows on workers better awareness of their rights and options for supporting themselves and their families when they need it the most.

In other words: people entitled to benefits didn't know they could get them.  This new notice requirement is to make sure such people are aware and are able to timely apply.

Is there a model policy for this law?

Employers do not have to have a written policy to comply with the law, but for those who want to adopt a policy to help assure compliance, here is a template[9] to work from:


Notice of Unemployment Insurance Upon Separation from Employment or Reduction of Hours


Policy adopted on: DATE


Purpose: To facilitate compliance with Labor Law Section 590(2)



Position responsible for compliance: INSERT


To document compliance with Labor Law Section 590(2), it is the policy of the INSERT NAME to immediately provide each former employee with a completed "Record of Employment" (as such form is maintained by the New York Department of Labor) upon:

  • Notice of termination
  • Confirmation of separation from employment due to retirement
  • Termination due to abandonment of the job by the employee ("no-show")
  • Voluntary resignation
  • Reduction of hours to less than 30 per week

Such documentation shall be as contemporaneous with the separation of employment or reduction of hours as possible, but in no event shall it be later than five (5) days after the last date of employment or effective date of the reduction.



[1] As I write this, I am in recovery from a spirit-dampening Buffalo Bills loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on November 26, 2023.  So, you get some football imagery.

[2] Remember, notifying a person that they can apply for unemployment insurance doesn't mean they will get it.

[3] I imagine that if this happens at a library, effort is made to ensure that the person is okay. 

[4] Or presented in person; but if the employee was present in person, there would be no need for the form in this instance, right?

[5] "Loosey-goosey" is such a friendly term… synonyms such as "lax" or "incautious" or "sloppy" are just so judgy.

[6] An example of loosey-goosey firing is when someone just stops showing up or stops being scheduled, but there is no notice and everyone is sorta cool with it… no one knows if the person still works there.  This is more common than one would think.

[7] Which are all employers who are not governmental agencies; if you're not sure, ask your lawyer for an answer in writing on that!

[8] For those who might be tempted to send the new "Record of Employment" notice with the 195(6) letter, my take is: don't wait 5 days.  The Record of Employment form should be given as close as possible to the actual separation or reduction.

[9] As with all templates, review this one for consistency with current practices and any requirements in applicable collective bargaining agreements (union contracts).  Whenever possible, templates for Labor Law compliance should be reviewed by legal counsel who considers the overall operations of the employer before adopting the final policy.


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