Independent Contractor Audits Resume!

YFNY Meeting On June 24th Learn What This Means For You

Yoga for NY, will be holding its last meeting for the summer on Monday, June 24th at 12:30pm at Yoga Union. At the top of the agenda will be updating the community on the status of independent contractor audits, which unfortunately are starting up again.

What could this mean for you?

Since last December, the Department of Labor placed a moratorium on audits for yoga studios concerning the employement status of their teachers. (An audit could, and sometimes did, mean that a studio was closed until it paid back fines and came into compliance with vague New York State rules.)

A moratorium on these audits, negotiated by Yoga for NY with help from Senator Bill Perkins and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, came about as a result of concerns over consistency, fairness and transparency in the process.

Also at question in discussions with the Department of Labor were the ways that the law - written for other types of small businesses - was being applied to yoga studios. At stake is the ability for small and medium-sized studios to stay fiscally solvent, because back-dated workman's comp insurance, payroll taxes and other audit-generated costs related to employing yoga teachers as employees could potentially bankrupt many studios around the city.

The six-month moratorium was an opportunity to clarify the legal distinctions between yoga teachers as employees and independent contractors; and for studios to get their paperwork, documentation and practices in line with the law.

Next week's meeting will bring studio owners and teachers up to speed on the results of discussions with the Department of Labor.

Yoga for NY's Director, Alison West told YogaCity NYC “Yoga for NY is not a legal advisory entity. So this will be an important information session at which studio owners and teachers (teachers need to know the law and their rights as independent contractors!) can learn where to find information.”

The meeting will also include a presentation by Preston Pesek, a former real estate investor and current chairman of real estate and space occupancy for YFNY, discussing how moving towards a rental-based model eliminates the risk of being interpreted as an employer by the department of labor.

Preston has been developing a new software platform, called Spacious Yoga, designed to allow teachers and students to initiate their own group classes by renting studio space by the hour in a way that matches or improves existing studio profitability, with little or no visible changes from the student's perspective. He will be offering to meet with any studio owners interested in testing out the concept by renting available time slots in the weekly schedule, to teachers on your current payroll who are eager to try something new.

In addition to the types of questions you might encounter in the audit process and how to negotiate a potential audit, the meeting will cover upcoming plans for Yoga for NY as the primary advocacy group for yoga in New York State.

To learn more about Yoga for NY click here. To register to attend the meeting on Monday June 24th, click here.

--Alex Phelan teaches anatomically influenced and alignment conscious yoga in New York City.

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