New year, new laws! New York is ringing in the new year with changes to employment laws which regulate workplaces. Today’s New York employment law blog examines some of the laws effecting New York workplaces in 2018, including paid family leave and minimum wage.
January 1, 2018 marked the first day for New York’s new paid family leave law. The law applies to private employers with as few as one employee. Employees who have been working full-time for 26 consecutive weeks or part-time (less than 20 hours per week) for 175 consecutive days can take advantage of this new law to care for a family member who has a serious health condition. During this first year the law is in effect, eligible workers will be able to take up to 8 weeks of paid leave but after 2021, workers will be able to take up to 12 weeks off.
Under federal law, qualified employees in New York are also covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as the FMLA. New York’s new paid family leave law, however, is more generous than the federal law. For example, the FMLA does not require the leave to be paid while New York’s paid family leave law allows eligible employees to take time off without losing pay. A difference between the two laws that is important to note, is that unlike the FMLA, New York’s paid family leave law does not provide leave for an employee’s own serious health condition.
All employees in New York must earn, at least, the New York State minimum wage. On December 31, 2017, the New York minimum wage increased to at least $10.40 per hour. The specific rate applicable to a particular employee depends on the employee’s industry and location in New York State.
In New York City, the general minimum wage varies depending on the number of employees. For businesses with 10 or less employees, the minimum wage increased to $12 per hour and for businesses with 11 or more employees, the minimum wage increased to $13 per hour. In Long Island and Westchester, the general minimum wage increased to $11 per hour from the previous $10 hourly rate. For the rest of New York State, the general minimum wage increased to $10.40 per hour.
For fast food workers in New York City, the minimum wage increased from $12 to $13.50 per hour. Fast food employees in the rest of the state, including Long Island, received a $1 raise to $11.75. According to the New York State Department of Labor, an employee who performs the following job duties at a place that primarily serves food or drinks is considered to be a fast food worker: “customer service, cooking, food or drink preparation, delivery, security, stocking supplies or equipment, cleaning, or routine maintenance.”
In New York City only, the minimum wage also increased for tipped food service workers. Before, the minimum wage for tipped food service workers was $7.50 per hour. In New York City, for businesses with 10 or less employees, the minimum wage for tipped food service workers increased to $8.00 per hour and for businesses with 11 or more employees, the minimum wage is now $8.65 per hour. For the rest of New York State, including Long Island, the minimum wage for tipped food service workers remains $7.50 per hour.
Workers who are not covered by the State’s regular minimum wage or overtime laws such as, among others, managers, outside salespeople, and “professional employees” also rang in the new year with a pay raise. While these types of employees do not have to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a given week, they must be paid a minimum salary. In New York, the minimum salary for these employees just increased to $825 a week from $750.
In addition to the changes that are already taking effect, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce changes to laws which effect sexual harassment cases in New York. Governor Cuomo is expected to push for legislation which will prohibit taxpayer money from being used to settle sexual harassment claims made against state employees. Also, he is expected to propose legislation which void arbitration clauses in employment contracts. Such clauses prevent sexual harassment claims from being filed publicly in court.
Famighetti & Weinick PLLC are employment lawyers in New York. If you have questions about sexual harassment, minimum wage, family leave, or other questions about workplace laws, call one of our employment lawyers at 631-352-0050. We are also available on the internet at http://www.linycemploymentlaw.com or on Facebook.
Today’s New York employment law blog was written by Hofstra Law School student intern Thalia Olaya.
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