N.Y. Labor Law Section 21
General powers and duties of commissioner

The commissioner shall be the administrative head of the department and shall have, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, general administrative supervision over the several divisions, boards, commissions, bureaus, and agencies thereof whether established under the provisions of this chapter or the workmen’s compensation law and in connection therewith, the commissioner:


Shall enforce all the provisions of this chapter and may issue such orders as he finds necessary directing compliance with any provision of this chapter, except as in this chapter otherwise provided;


Shall cause proper inspections to be made of all matters prescribed by this chapter;


Shall cause investigations to be made of the condition of women in industry; * 3-a. Shall prepare and submit to the governor, the temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly on or before the thirtieth day of September an annual report on the status of older workers including those over the age of sixty-five in New York state. Such report shall describe in detail the employment needs of such older workers and the ability of existing state employment services to deal with the problems of older workers. The report shall consider the need for affirmative action, training, counseling, development of alternative work schedules, job development activities within the public and private sector, and the need for improved use by older workers of publicly funded programs for employment and employment-related services. The report shall also consider the economic impact of unemployment among older workers and shall contain recommendations, including the associated costs, for improved programs or for changes in statutes or regulations to provide increased employment opportunities for older workers. * NB Expired October 1, 1981 4. Shall inquire into and report on the causes of all strikes, lockouts and other industrial controversies or labor disputes, and may appoint boards of inquiry for that purpose;


Shall institute methods and procedures for the establishment of a program for voluntary compliance by employers and employees with the requirements of this act and all applicable safety and health standards and rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to the authority of this article;


Shall provide a method of encouraging employers and employees in their efforts to reduce the number of safety and health hazards arising from undesirable, inappropriate, or unnecessary working conditions at the workplace and of stimulating employers and employees to institute new and to perfect existing programs for providing safe and healthful working conditions;


May provide for the establishment and maintenance of public employment offices for the purpose of securing employment for men, women and children;


May make investigations, collect and compile statistical information and report upon the conditions of labor generally and upon all matters relating to the enforcement and effect of the provisions of this chapter and of the rules thereunder;


May enforce any lawful municipal ordinance, by-law or regulation relating to any place affected by the provisions of this chapter, not in conflict with provisions of this chapter;


May investigate the condition of noncitizens relative to their employment in industry;


May issue such regulations governing any provision of this chapter as he finds necessary and proper.


Shall compile and publish, on an annual basis, a list of all regulations and notices required to be posted by employers for the benefit of their employees pursuant to this chapter, the workers’ compensation law and any other state or federal law, rule or regulation.


Shall adopt regulations prescribing the methodology for establishing an ongoing monthly statewide cost of labor index and an annual county or appropriate multi-county labor market composite wage rate, in consultation with the commissioner of education, for the purpose of computation of building aid to school districts, as required by subparagraph one of paragraph a of subdivision six of Education Law § 3602 (Apportionment of public moneys to school districts employing eight or more teachers)section thirty-six hundred two of the education law.


Shall do all things necessary for the operation of the New York state data center established in the department in cooperation with the United States bureau of the census; to cooperate with other state agencies, universities, regional organizations, boards, commissions, and other entities in the dissemination of socio-economic information and data through the New York state data center program; in relation to such information and data, to provide technical assistance to other state agencies, universities, regional organizations, boards, commissions and other entities; and to prepare estimates and the official projections of population, households and other characteristics of the state for use by all state agencies. All employees transferred to the department shall be transferred without further examination or qualification to the same or similar titles and shall remain in the same collective bargaining units and shall retain their respective civil service classifications, status and rights pursuant to their collective bargaining units and collective bargaining agreements.


Shall establish and maintain an online database to catalogue and make available information on workforce development funding programs. Such catalogue shall be updated no less than annually. For purposes of this subdivision, the term “workforce development funding program” shall mean a program that funds or provides targeted educational, occupational or training services for the purpose of effecting the employability of the participant, provides training or employment services, supports an economic development activity by enhancing the skills of the state’s workforce, prepares individuals for employment, improves opportunities for individuals to become employed, or promotes understanding of the state labor force market through statistical studies, including but not limited to programs that fund or provide English as a second language and adult literacy. For each workforce development funding program, the online database shall include, but not be limited to, the following information for each funding program:


the name of the funding program and the agency administering the funding program;


a description of the purpose of the funding program;


a specific program Uniform Resource Locator (“URL”), if any;


the year the program was established;


a catalog of federal domestic assistance numbers, if any;


the legal authority, including statute and regulation citations;


the program and fiscal contact information including agency name, telephone number, and email address;


all eligibility requirements;


any program and special restrictions;


any action or actions required to receive aid; and


a description of aid which shall include, but not be limited to, the flow of funds between entities, the type of aid formula used, any matching requirements and any maintenance of effort.


Beginning on December first, two thousand twenty-four, and every December first thereafter, the department shall prepare a report of the catalogue of workforce development funding programs established pursuant to subdivision fifteen of this section comprised of analysis conducted by the agency or entity responsible for each workforce development funding program on the outcomes and effectiveness of such funding programs and the number of persons served by such funding. Such analysis must be submitted to the department by a date specified by the department each year. Such report shall be submitted to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the senate and the minority leader of the assembly and shall be made publicly available on the department’s website.

Source: Section 21 — General powers and duties of commissioner, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/LAB/21 (updated May 12, 2023; accessed Jun. 15, 2024).

Department of labor
Domestic violence policy
Domestic violence employee awareness and assistance
Workforce guidance and information for women initiative
Deputy commissioner
Transmission of labor market information
Passenger tramway advisory council
Advisory council on farm labor safety
Oaths of office
Offices of the department
Vacancies and removals
Officers and employees
Sick leave for per diem employees
Divisions or bureaus
General powers and duties of commissioner
The industrial commissioner is hereby authorized to enter into agreements with the appropriate agencies of the United States, whereby, in...
Power of the industrial commissioner to make agreements for federal reimbursement to the state of certain expenses in connection with vet...
Power of commissioner to enter into agreements relating to certain federal acts
Power of commissioner to enter into agreement relating to information obtained by the state directory of new hires
Powers of the commissioner to prepare and issue a notice to be posted at worksite
Job transition plan for certain climate risk-related and energy transition projects
Administrative regulations
Delegation of powers by commissioner
Power to enter and inspect premises
Power to administer the New York youth jobs program tax credit
Power to administer the workers with disabilities tax credit program
Power to administer the empire state apprenticeship tax credit program
Examination of books and papers
Safety and health standards
Safety and health standards for public employees
Duty of public employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence
Preparation of public employers for state disaster emergencies involving public health
Workplace safety committees
Procedure for issuing safety and health rules
Duty to furnish information and facilitate inspections
Interference with officer or employee of department prohibited
Service of notice
Department to keep record and publish bulletin of licenses
Maintenance of records
Destruction of old records
Department’s process to be in its name
Oaths and affidavits
Hearings and subpoenas
Proceedings before officers or employees
Rules governing hearings
Youth education, employment and training program
Transfer of funds to the unemployment insurance occupational training fund
Workplace fatality registry

Jun. 15, 2024

Last modified:
May 12, 2023

§ 21’s source at nysenate​.gov

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