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April 7th, 2016
Get Ready for New Minimum Wage and Family Leave Law Changes in New York
On April 4, 2016, Governor Cuomo signed into law amendments to the New York Labor and Workers' Compensation laws that raised the New York State hourly minimum wage to $15, and provided for paid-family-leave time for most employees. For some New York businesses, the first deadline for compliance is December 31, 2016. More details, and related deadlines, follow below:
New York's minimum wage plan:
- Effective December 31, 2016, the hourly minimum wage for New York City workers employed by businesses with 11 or more employees will rise to $11. The minimum wage will then increase to $13 effective December 31, 2017, and $15 effective December 31, 2018. For businesses with 10 or fewer employees, the hourly minimum wage will rise to $10.50 effective December 31, 2016, increasing by $1.50 each year until it reaches $15 on December 31, 2019.
- The hourly minimum wage for employees in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties will rise to $10 by December 31, 2016 and by $1 each subsequent year, until it reaches $15 on December 31, 2021.
- For employees of other New York employers, the minimum wage will rise to $9.70 by December 31, 2016, and an additional 70 cents each year thereafter until reaching $12.50 at the end of 2020. After that, the state will gradually raise the minimum toward the $15 goal on an "indexed schedule" determined by the state budget director, in consultation with the state labor department.
- For food service workers/tipped employees, the hourly minimum wage shall be the higher of two-thirds of the minimum wage then in effect, or $7.50 (workers must still earn tips that bring their overall hourly wage up to the current hourly minimum wage).
New York's family leave plan:
- Effective January 1, 2018, employees will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave to "bond with a child" (including adopted or foster children), care for an ill parent, child, spouse or domestic partner or other family member, or to relieve pressures when "someone is called to active military service."
- This new law covers full- and part-time workers and, unlike the federal Family and Medical Leave act, covers all employers, not just those employing more than 50 full-time employees. The new law also covers workers who have been employed by a company for at least 6 months (as opposed to the one year requirement under the FMLA).
- Starting in 2018, employees will be eligible for 50 percent of their weekly average wage, capped at half the state weekly average wage (currently set at $1,266.44, or $633.22 when divided by two) for up to eight weeks.
- By 2021, employees will be eligible for two-thirds of their weekly average wage, capped at 67 percent of the state weekly average wage ($849 at today's levels) for up to 12 weeks.
- This leave is available for both men and women.
- The law also includes reinstatement and anti-retaliation provisions for employees who have taken family leave.
- Employers will not be required to fund any portion of the family leave benefit; employees will contribute to the insurance premiums via payroll deduction in an amount to be determined based on the actual insurance premium but not in excess of one half of one percent of the employee's weekly wages, capped at sixty cents per week.
- Sole proprietors, LLC or LLP members and self-employed persons, who are not otherwise covered by the Workers Compensation Law (now retitled the "Disability Benefits Law and the Paid Family Leave Benefits Law") may voluntarily participate in the program for family leave benefits purposes only.
Criminal and financial penalties:
- A failure to comply may lead to a criminal misdemeanor charge, financial penalties of up to one half of one percent of weekly payroll for the period of non-compliance, and a fine of up to $500.00.
If you have questions about these New York wage and leave provisions, or other employment law questions, please contact Wendy Stryker at (212) 705 4838 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Gavin McElroy at (212) 826 5541 or email@example.com, or any other member of the Executive Compensation & Employment Group at Frankfurt Kurnit.
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