Chamber Corner

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Article Contributed by
Todd J. Tranum
President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce

Chamber/MAST Can Help Employers Navigate the Voter Leave Law

With Election Day approaching, we encourage all employers in New York State to pay special attention to new election laws. Effective immediately, all employers must provide New York employees who are registered to vote with up to three hours’ time off to vote in any local, state, or federal election without loss of pay.

The law says that unless otherwise agreed to, as designated by the employer, time off will be at the beginning or end of a work shift. Employees who require time off to vote have to notify their employer not less than two working days before the day of the election. In addition, employers are required to conspicuously post notice of the provisions of the voter leave law and to keep them in place until the polls close on Election Day.

At the same time, state residents have even more voting opportunities this year because early voting is being implemented for the first time all across New York State. Voters will be allowed to cast their ballots as early as ten days prior to Election Day, which is Tuesday, November 5. In Chautauqua County early voting locations will be available selected hours between Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, November 3 at the Board of Elections Office in the Hall R. Clothier Building, Mayville, at Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood, and at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds 4-H Building in Dunkirk. For details about hours and specifics visit the Board of Elections page on the Chautauqua County website at www.co.chautauqua.ny.us.

For employers who are seeking additional information about the New York State Employee Leave Laws the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier have resources available as part of our online HR library. Any member business that does not already have access to this important resource can contact Kevin Sixbey, Director of Insurance Services, at (716) 366-6200 or (716) 494-1101 to learn more.

The Chamber and MAST strongly encourage all local registered voters to vote and be part of the important process of choosing our elected representatives

Health Insurance Open Enrollment is Underway

Through the expansion of plan options and solutions available through the Chamber of Commerce, we can now provide even greater value to our members. To outline all of this, the Chamber’s licensed in-house broker, Kevin Sixbey, is focused on direct engagement with clients this year. He has been reaching out for discussions with all current groups that have December 1 renewal dates. Coverage is still offered through Blue Cross Blue Shield, Independent Health, and Univera, with a variety of plans to help meet the needs of different clients and groups. MetLife and AFLAC are our prime carriers for a variety of ancillary and voluntary plans, along with some new options recently added. In all cases, the Chamber features a broad array of products and solutions to meet the needs of local businesses and their workers. All employee group decisions must be finalized by October 31 to meet the deadline for renewed coverage by December 1. If you don’t hear from us to set up an appointment, please call or email Kevin Sixbey at 484-1101 or 366-6200 or ksixbey@chautauquachamber.org. As a benefit of membership, the Chamber’s health insurance and employee benefits support is driven by our mission to provide our members with cost containment solutions for employers providing these as benefits to their employees.