United States: Employment Law Roundup: New Obligations On New York Employers In 2014

Last Updated: January 14 2014
Article by Jonathan A. Trafimow

In 2014, new obligations are imposed on employers by the following changes in the law: New York City's Earned Sick Time Act (effective April 1, 2014), new regulations from the New York State Department of Labor ("DOL") regarding wage deductions (effective October 9, 2013), changes to the New York City Human Rights Law requiring reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees (effective January 30, 2014) and increases to the minimum wage (effective December 31, 2013).

Earned Sick Time Act

Pursuant to New York City's Earned Sick Time Act (the "Act"), beginning April 1, 2014, most New York City private employers (many manufacturing employers are exempt) that employ at least 20 employees must provide all employees employed for more than 80 hours in a calendar year ("Eligible Employees") up to five days paid sick leave per year. Beginning October 1, 2015, employers with between 15 and 19 employees must also provide paid sick leave for all Eligible Employees. The Act, however, does not require those employers that provide their employees enough paid vacation time or paid time off to provide additional paid sick leave to their employees, as long as any paid time off may be used for purposes set forth in the Act. Under the Act, all employees, whether or not they are Eligible Employees, are entitled to unpaid sick time for the same purposes for which Eligible Employees can take paid sick leave.

Under the Act, Eligible Employees accrue sick leave at the rate of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours of work, beginning from the employee's date of hire or on the date the law becomes effective, whichever is later, up to a total of 40 hours in a calendar year. However, employers are not required to let Eligible Employees use their Sick Leave until they have been employed for at least 120 days (or on the 120th day following April 1, 2014). Employers may require Eligible Employees to take sick leave in minimum increments of four hours, and may require that they provide up to seven days advance notice when the need to use sick leave is foreseeable. (When the need to use sick leave is not foreseeable, employers may require that notice be given as soon as practicable.) Finally, when an Eligible Employee is absent for three or more consecutive workdays, employers may request reasonable documentation justifying the paid sick leave.

Eligible Employees may take paid sick leave for the following purposes: (1) an employee's own mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; or (2) to care for an ill family member (a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent) or care for a child when the child's regular childcare provider or school has been closed due to a public health emergency. If an Eligible Employee does not use paid sick leave earned in one calendar year, the unused time can be carried over into the next calendar year. However, the Act does not require an employer to give an Eligible Employee more than 0 hours of paid sick leave in one calendar year.

The Act does not apply to the following types of workers: (1) work-study students; (2) independent contractors; (3) seasonal workers; (4) certain workers in the manufacturing sector and some hourly occupational, speech and physical therapists; and (5) certain unionized employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, so long as the Act's provisions are expressly waived in the collective bargaining agreement, and the agreement provides a comparable leave benefit. For unionized employees in the construction and grocery industries, there is no requirement that a collective bargaining agreement provide a comparable benefit to the employees. However, the Act still must be expressly waived in the collective bargaining agreement in order for the Act not to apply.

Employers must provide all new hires at the start of their employment with written notice in both English and in the employee's primary language of the employee's right to paid sick time. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (the "Department") is tasked with drafting a form notice, which must include reference to the employee's right to be free from retaliation and to bring a complaint to the Department. Failure to provide such notice may subject employers to a civil fine of up to fifty dollars for each employee not given appropriate notice. Employers must also retain records documenting the employer's compliance with the requirements of the Act for a period of two years or be subject to penalties. Finally, the Act prohibits an employer from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the Act.

Deductions From Wages

For decades, Section 193 of the New York Labor Law limited wage deductions to certain enumerated purposes for the benefit of the employee, such as for health care insurance, charitable deductions, deferred income or union dues, and then only if theemployee authorized the deduction in writing. In 2012, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that removed some of the more restrictive provisions of Section 193. The revised statute permits employers to recover wage overpayments due to mathematical or clerical errors, and to repay an advance of wages to an employee.

The 2012 amendment to Section 193 also broadened the list of wage deductions permitted with the employee's consent to include, among other things, fitness center/health club/gym membership dues; discounted parking or certain items to permit an employee to use mass transit; day care (or before-and after-school care) expenses; purchases made at events sponsored by a bona fide charitable organization affiliated with the employer where at least 20% of the profits from the event are contributed to the charity; and certain other purposes set forth in the statute.

Effective October 9, 2013, the DOL issued new regulations (the "Regulations") that apply to Section 193. The Regulations state that no deductions from wages are permitted except:

  • Deductions "specified by, or similar to those specified by" Section 193, authorized by and for the benefit of the employee.
  • Deductions for the "recovery of overpayments" or "for the repayment of wage advances," but only if made in the manner required by the Regulations.
  • Deductions "made in accordance with any law, rule or regulation issued by any governmental agency."

This last category requires clarification. The Regulations explain that deductions made in accordance with law include but are not limited to "deductions for recovery of overpayments, for repayment of salary advances, and for pre-tax contribution plans approved by the IRS; wage garnishments and levies for child support and taxes, which may be involuntary as long as they are made in accordance with the statutes and regulations authorizing them."

In contrast, deductions for the repayment of loans not made in accordance with the Regulations are prohibited. While a detailed review of the repayment requirements is beyond the scope of this Client Alert, the Regulations impose limits as to the timing, frequency and duration of deductions, the method of recovery (e.g., procedures for wage deductions or other, separate transactions to recover overpayments) and notice requirements to the employee.

Deductions for the repayment of loans are only permitted if there is written agreement for it prior to the advance. Deductions from wages to recover an advance are permitted under the Regulations only if, among other things, the employer and employee reached an agreement "to the timing and duration of the repayment deduction in writing before the advance is given." In addition, deductions for the repayment of loans are only permitted if the employer provides the employee with an opportunity to "dispute the overpayment and terms of recovery, and/or seek a delay in the recovery of such overpayment." If an employee objects in writing to a deduction, the employer must respond in writing, and "shall cease deductions until such reply has been given and any applicable adjustments made." An employer's failure "to afford this process to the employee will create the presumption that the contested deduction was permissible."

Reasonable Accommodation Obligation Under New York City Human Rights Law

Effective January 30, 2014, an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (the "Amendment") now requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees who are pregnant or have a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Such accommodations may include, but are not limited to, unpaid medical leave, light workload and/or shorter hours, or changes to the employee's work environment.

Minimum Wage Increase for 2014 and WTPA Compliance

Effective December 31, 2013, New York State's minimum wage increased from $7.25 to $8.00 an hour. Employers should note that the Wage Theft Prevention Act (the "WTPA") forms must be completed in January of 2014.

Implications For Employers

Employers should review their employment policies and practices to come into compliance with these new laws. For example, New York City employers must make sure that they are properly accruing paid sick leave for Eligible Employees and unpaid sick leave for all employees, and providing proper notice to new hires. Further, employers who may have liberalized their practices regarding wage advances to employees following the 2012 changes to Section 193 will want to make sure that they do not jeopardize their legal right to recoup these advances by failing to comply with the Regulations. Finally, employers should make sure all employees are being paid at east $8.00 an hour beginning December 31, 2013 and that they complete the WTPA forms in January 2014.

The New Year brings with it for New York employers the challenge of complying with new and pre-existing employment laws, including the New York City Earned Sick Time Act, Section 193 of the New York State Labor Law, the WTPA and the minimum wage. Moritt Hock & Hamroff LLP can assist you in understanding and addressing these issues, including reviewing your employee handbook and other employment practices.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Jonathan A. Trafimow
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions