New York Touts Saving Money, Trees with ‘Greener’ Online Handbook

ALBANY, NY—Oct. 20, 2010—State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner (DoL) announced that the Department of Labor will save $875,000 in taxpayer dollars in 2010 through better use of existing technology. The Department will achieve these savings by reducing printing costs and phone bills.

“Millions of New Yorkers rely on our services every year, which is why we need to make certain that we are accountable for every public dollar being spent,” said Commissioner Gardner. “Technology has helped the Department of Labor improve services for millions of New Yorkers and save taxpayer dollars in the process.”

In April 2010, the Department of Labor launched an online version of its “Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claimant Handbook” in English and Spanish. In the past, a handbook was sent to each person who collects UI in New York State, which cost money to print and money to mail. Today, UI claimants can choose to opt out of receiving a paper copy and instead view the on-line version.

In 2010 alone, the Labor Department expects to save $624,000 in taxpayer dollars thanks to this new feature.

In 2010, this new online feature has already saved more than 5.6 million pieces of paper from being printed. A typical paper mill consumes about 2.2 trees to produce 335,000 sheets of paper. Thus, this feature has already saved more than 35 trees.

In March 2010, the Department of Labor launched a new program called “UI Will Call” to improve service to unemployed New Yorkers. This telecommunications improvement gives people whose wait time with the Labor Department exceeds two minutes the choice to opt out of the call. In turn, the system will call them back when an agent line is free or possibly on a day and time of their choosing. In the first eight months since the launch of “UI Will Call,” the Department has saved $173,000 in phone bills and expects to save $250,000 in 2010 alone. This does not take into account savings on the part of New Yorkers who often had to use additional cell phone minutes as they waited on the line.