2019 New York Labor Law Update

Law- Minimum Wage Law: The minimum wage increased in New York state, New York City, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties effective 12/31/2018.

NYC (11 or more employees) $15/hr

NYC (10 or fewer employees) $13.50/hr

Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties $12/hr

NY State (Outside of NYC, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties) $11.10/hr

How to Prepare: NY employers should adjust payroll to ensure that all employees are being paid at least minimum wage for the employer’s location and size.

NY employers MUST distribute updated employee wage notices, which is required whenever an employee’s rate of pay is changed (could be fined for failing to do so)

Law- Salary Basis Threshold: The minimum weekly salary required to qualify an employee as exempt from overtime requirements increased on 12/31/2018.  The new salary requirements for exemption are:

NYC (11 or more employees) at least $1125/week ($58,500 per year)

NYC (10 or fewer employees) at least $1012.50/week ($52,650 per year)

Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties at least $900/week ($46,800 per year)

NY State (outside of NYC, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties) at least $832/week ($43,264 per year)

How to Prepare: Employers should examine the salaries of all exempt employees to determine whether the employees’ salaries meet the minimum threshold for the position to be considered exempt.

Employers should also take the opportunity to reevaluate the duties of all exempt positions to ensure that those positions are still meeting the duties test to qualify for the exemption (salary amount alone is not sufficient for a position to qualify as exempt)

Law- Cooperative Dialogue (NYC only): Employers with 4 or more employees must engage in a “cooperative dialogue” in response to a request for accommodation because of religion, disability, pregnancy/childbirth/related medical condition, or needs specific to victims of domestic violence/sexual assault/stalking.  Employers covered by the law must document the entire cooperative dialogue process and provide the requesting employee with a written determination identifying any accommodations granted or denied.  If no accommodation is possible, the requesting employee must be notified of this in writing as well.

How to Prepare: The cooperative dialogue is similar to the ADA interactive process, with a broader scope.  Employers should review their interactive process procedures and update these procedures to encompass all categories of accommodations covered by the cooperative dialogue law, as well as satisfy the written determination requirement.  Employers should educate managers and supervisors on how to identify and process a potential request for accommodation.  

Law- Sexual Harassment Training (New York State): Employers are required to provide every employee with sexual harassment prevention training.  Every employee must receive training on an annual basis, starting October 9, 2018.  All employees (full time, part time, temporary, seasonal) must complete training that meets the minimum standards by October 9, 2019 and annually thereafter.

How to Prepare: Employers must implement a sexual harassment policy that complies with the law, post the policy, and provide all employees with a written copy of the policy.  The policy should either contain a form for filing a claim of sexual harassment or directions as to where to find the form.

Employers must develop a training program that meets the minimum standards established by law.

Model policies and model trainings can be found here: https://www.ny.gov/combating-sexual-harassment-workplace/employers

Law- Sexual Harassment Training (New York City): Effective April 2019, NYC employers with 15 or more employees have one year to implement sexual harassment training for all employees, and must train all employees annually thereafter

How to Prepare: Employers must develop a training that meets NYC’s minimum training standards.

Employers must keep records, including a signed acknowledgement, of all training

Employers must conspicuously display anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities

Employers must distribute a sexual harassment fact sheet to all employees at the time of hire (may include in handbook)

A list of the required elements of training and links to notices and fact sheets can be found here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/media/sexual-harassment-campaign.page

Law- Westchester County Earned Sick Leave Law (ESLL): Effective April 10, 2019, employers in Westchester County with five or more employees must provide paid sick leave to employees.

Employees accrue 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a cap of 40 hours per year.Leave begins accruing at the date of hire and can be used beginning on the 90th day of employment.Employees must be allowed to carry over 40 hours of accrued but unused sick time into the following year, but employers may cap the use of sick leave at 40 hours per year.

How to Prepare: Employers need to review sick leave policies and begin tracking accrual and use of paid sick leave.

Law- Suffolk County Salary History Ban (RISE Act): Effective June 30, 2019, employers, their agents, and employment agencies are prohibited from asking about candidates’ former or current salaries/earnings/benefits/rates of pay at any point during the hiring process.  Relying on current or former pay information in making a hiring decision or determining compensation is prohibited.

How to Prepare: Employers should eliminate questions regarding salary or rate of pay in previous positions from job applications.  Interviewers should be trained to avoid soliciting this type of information.