In one of her first acts after being elected in her own right by the voters of New York, Governor Kathy Hochul signed SB 1958 into law prohibiting an employer from penalizing an employee for any absence that is protected by federal, state or local law. The legislation, which takes effect on February 19, 2023, specifically provides that an employee absent for a legally protected reason, may not be assessed any demerit, occurrence, or deduction from an allotted bank of time, which might subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including a loss of promotion or a loss of pay. Violations of the new statute allow the New York State Department of Labor to assess civil penalties up to $10,000 ($20,000 for subsequent violations) along with reinstatement, awards of back pay and liquidated damages.