Last Tuesday, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) hosted a free seminar on complying with New York’s labor laws for local business owners and operators in the hospitality industry. The seminar was held at the Greater Astoria Historical Society’s facilities in the Quinn Building on Broadway and 35th Street.
Simotas was joined by NYSRA Executive Vice President Andrew Rigie and labor law attorney Carolyn Richmond, who conducted a comprehensive presentation on issues ranging from wages and hours to diversity awareness. The seminar addressed the New York State Department of Labor’s final consolidated Wage Order for the Hospitality Industry, which went into effect earlier this year and increased penalties on employers who violate wage and hour statutes.
“Labor laws that protect workers are essential to a fair and humane business environment, but the complexity of these regulations make it difficult even for employers who act in good faith to comply,” Simotas said. “I hope this seminar cleared up some of the more complicated aspects of existing statutes and will be beneficial to both restaurant owners and their workers.”
“It is difficult for small business owners to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing and complex regulatory environment,” Rigie said. “This is why training seminars regarding hot topics such as labor law compliance are a valuable resource to the restaurant industry. The New York State Restaurant Association was pleased to co-host this labor law seminar with Assemblywoman Simotas to keep restaurant operators in her district informed with information that is vital to the success of their businesses.”
The seminar is one of several in-district efforts by Assemblymember Simotas this fall to streamline communication between her constituents and the state government. These initiatives have included holding mobile office hours throughout the district, meeting with non-profit leaders about obtaining grants, and mailing senior citizens about changes to state benefits programs.
“Dealing with state agencies can often be a long, burdensome process,” Simotas said. “As a local representative, I have a responsibility to help my constituents navigate the bureaucracy so they can better access the services they need.”