The state of New York has long mandated that private employers provide paid sick leave for its workers, but now they’re taking leave mandates to a whole new level. In the FY 2020 state budget passed just about a month ago, legislators saddled private businesses with more mandates as they approved a $175 billion spending plan with tentacles reaching in a host of new directions. As relates employee time off, the state expanded employees’ paid time off by adding an extra hour to the 2 hours they previously had to vote on Election Day – they now have 3 paid hours off to vote! That seems a bit of overkill though as back in January, legislators also amended state election laws to extend voting hours on Election Day and allow voting as early as 10 days before an election! So with longer hours and more days, why does an employee need three hours paid time off on Election Day to vote? Elsewhere in the budget, the powers that be in Albany banned the use of most retail plastic bags (take-out food is exempted) beginning in March, 2020 and they authorized counties across the state to opt-in to charging a 5-cent fee on paper bags with the money split between the county and the state Environmental Protection Fund. Furthermore, they broke new ground in the revenue-raising game by adopting ‘congestion pricing’ – charging an extra fee ($10 for cars, $25 for trucks) for driving into Manhattan during certain times of the day – being the first American locale to do so, but I can assure you, not the last!