Changes to New York State and City Labor Laws
New York State and New York City passed (or will pass) changes to their respective labor laws. Below are a few of those changes that have been made or that are pending:
New York State Updates:
Increases in Minimum Wage and Exempt Salary Thresholds
As of December 31, 2021, the general, statewide minimum wage increased to $13.20 per hour; with the minimum hourly wage in certain counties (Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester) increasing to $15.00 per hour.
Changes to Paid Family Leave
As of January 1, 2022, employees seeking leave under the Paid Family Leave Benefits Law will no longer face the 60-day cap. Before the amendments,
Sick Leave Rule Changes
New York employees can now use their sick leave for mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, even if the illness, injury, or health condition had been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time of the request for leave. Covid–19 related illnesses are now covered by the recent rule change. The length of the leave will depend on the size of the employer. Employers are required to count the number of employers they have nationwide, not just those employees based in New York.
Employers Obligations under HERO ACT Expanded
Employers obligations under the HERO Act have been expanded. Employers must now have an infectious disease exposure plan (called “Safety Plans”). In addition, if the employer has more than 10 employees, the employer must allow for the employees to form a “Workplace Safety Committee” and allow the committee to review the health and safety guidelines in the workplace.
Expanded Whistleblower Protection
New York State’s whistleblower law is no longer limited to protecting employees who report or complain about actual violation of laws designed to protect public health and safety. As of January 26, 2021, § 740 of the New York Labor Law will allow current and former employees to bring whistleblower claims. Independent contractors are also afforded protection under the amended whistleblower law. The amendments no longer require an actual violation of public health and safety law in order to be protected under the whistleblower law; instead, a current or former employer, and an independent contractor, are protected under the whistleblower laws if she reasonably believes that a policy, activity, or practice poses a specific and substantial danger to the public health or safety.
New York City Updates:
Disclosures in Job Postings
The New York City Council passed a law that requires New York City Employers to disclose minimum and maximum salaries offered for vacant positions that they post. This law will become effective in April 2022. Colorado passed a similar law in 2019.