As we near the end of another year of COVID-19 and face yet more surges in cases, governments are working to adapt in order to keep employees safe. In addition to new COVID-19 laws and regulations, incoming New York State Governor Hochul has signed a number of other laws affecting employers.
Employers need to make sure all policies are in compliance and that all handbooks and policies reflect these changes. Here is a summary of what employers need to know:
- Federal: Vaccine-or-Test Mandate - The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted the stay on the OSHA vaccine-or-test mandate. (Effective January 10, 2022)
- NYC: Vaccine Mandate - All NYC employers must implement a vaccine mandate for all employees who work in the presence of at least one other person. (Effective December 27, 2021)
- NYS: Vaccine Leave - All NYS employers must provide time off for COVID-19 sick leave or to receive/recover from vaccines. (In effect)
- NYS: Minimum Wage - Minimum wage increases in Long Island and Westchester to $15/hour, and in the rest of the state (outside NYC) to $13.20/hour. Minimum exempt salary also increases in all parts of NYS outside NYC. (Effective December 31, 2021)
- NYS: Employer-Mandated Retirement Savings Programs – Private employers in business at least 2 years with at least 10 employees that have not offered a retirement plan must automatically enroll employees in New York State's Secure Choice Savings Plan. (In effect)
- NYS: Shared Work Programs – Employees facing a potential layoff can petition their employer to implement a shared work program to reduce all employee hours to help avoid layoffs. (In effect)
- NYS: Protection from Retaliation – Protections for private sector employees who report illegal or dangerous business activities expand to include former employees and independent contractors, the scope of retaliatory action will be expanded, and the statute of limitations was extended to two years. (Effective January 26, 2022)
- NYS: Workplace Privacy – All private employers must inform employees in writing at the time of hire and annually if the employer "monitors or otherwise intercepts" telephone or email communications or internet access or usage, or face penalties of up to $3,000 for each offense. (Effective May 7, 2022)
- NYC: Anti-Discrimination Laws – Domestic workers will be protected under New York City anti-discrimination laws, including that credit checks cannot be run during the hiring process and employers cannot ask about prior arrests. (Effective March 12, 2022)
- NYS: Paid Family Leave Update - In 2022, New York State Paid Family Leave remains at 12 weeks, but the maximum weekly benefit increases to $1,068.36.
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