Two recent political deals at both the state and municipal level
will increase employer costs and burdens. At the state level, New
York will increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.00
per hour. At the municipal level, New York City is set to require
all New York City employers to provide time off to their employees
to care for themselves or their family members.
New York State Raised Its Minimum Wage
On April 1, 2013, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that will
increase New York's minimum wage over a three year period,
eventually raising the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.00
per hour. Starting January 1, 2014, the minimum wage in New York
will raise $0.75 from $7.25 per hour to $8.00 per hour. In 2015,
the minimum wage will raise another $0.75 to $8.75 per hour.
Finally, in 2016, the minimum wage will increase to $9.00 per hour.
While the tipped minimum wage for food service workers remains
unaffected, a new wage board will be convened in the coming months
and the tip credit, meal credit, and other matters affected by the
Hospitality Wage Order will again be up for grabs.
New York City Will Require Most Employers to Provide Paid Sick
The New York City Council recently reached an agreement to pass
legislation that would require most New York City employers to
provide paid sick leave to their employees. While Mayor Bloomberg
is expected to veto the legislation, there are more than enough
votes in the City Council to override the Mayor's veto and the
legislation is expect to become law.
Under the legislation, effective April 1, 2014, all New York
City employers must provide up to five sick days to
"covered employees" so that such individuals can care for
themselves or a close family member. For employers with 20 or more
employees, the five sick days must be paid. On October 15, 2015,
the requirement to provide paid sick days to employees expands to
employers with 15 or more employees. For those employees who
receive most of their compensation in the form of
"gratuities," it appears that the legislation only
requires the employer to pay the employee his or her base
A "covered employee" under the legislation includes
all employees, whether part-time or full-time, who have worked for
their employer for at least four months. However, seasonal
employees and work study students are excluded from the definition
of "covered employee." Employers who already meet these
minimum requirements for providing time off as set forth in the
legislation will not be required to offer additional time off to
their employees. The legislation also prevents employers from
retaliating against employees who exercise their right to take time
off in a manner consistent with the legislation.
This legislation will be enforced by the New York City
Department of Consumer Affairs. If an employer violates the law,
the Department of Consumer Affairs can impose a fine of up to
$2,500 as well as require employers to reimburse an employee any
wages to which he or she may be entitled. However, the legislation
does not create a private right of action for employees, which
means that employees can not sue their employers who allegedly
violate this law; their only recourse is to file a complaint with
the Department of Consumer Affairs.
These changes will increase costs for all New York City
employers. Further, the sick day legislation will impose additional
burdens on employers beyond costs, such as covering employee shifts
on short notice and tracking employee usage of sick days. These new
laws also can subject unwary employers to additional fines and
penalties if they fail to properly comply. Accordingly, employers
must be diligent in ensuring that they continue to comply with the
New York law. Many specifics on the Sick Leave agreement remain
unclear at the time of this writing. Fox Rothschild will continue
to monitor this legislation and provide further details as they
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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