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Summary of New Employment Regulations

The year 2016 has been a busy one for employers and human-resource representatives as both New York State and New York City have enacted a variety of regulations that will affect the workplace. To help Flatiron District employees and businesses successfully navigate this environment, the BID has assembled a summary of the regulations. The below information is not intended to be comprehensive; additional state, local and federal regulations (such as the Family and Medical Leave Act) also apply. Please contact the relevant city and state agencies for more information.


$15 Minimum Wage

On April 1, 2016, the New York State Legislature passed legislation that will substantially raise the hourly minimum wage, culminating in $15 an hour in the year 2018. Currently, the minimum wage is $9 an hour, and it will rise to $11 at the end of 2016, then another $2 each year thereafter. It will come to rest at $15 on December 31, 2018 for workers in New York City employed by large businesses (defined as those with at least 11 employees). For workers in New York City employed by small businesses (10 employees or fewer), the minimum wage will rise to $10.50 by the end of 2016, then another $1.50 each year after, reaching $15 on December 31, 2019. Rules vary for workers in the rest of the state. To read more about the $15 minimum wage, please visit the website of the Office of Governor Cuomo.


12-Week Paid Family Leave

A comprehensive paid family leave program also passed the State Legislature on April 1st. It will eventually allow employees across the state to take 12 weeks of paid time off to care for newborns or sick relatives and to accomodate military deployments. Benefits will be phased in beginning in 2018, at which point all full- and part-time employees who’ve been working at their jobs for at least six months will have access to up to eight weeks of leave at half their salaries. The full 12-week program will be fully implemented in 2021.  The initiative will be funded by through a nominal payroll deduction from employees so that it is cost-neutral to businesses. To read more about this new law, please visit the website of the Office of Governor Cuomo.


Protected Caregiver Status

On January 5, 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation that will expand the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to include “caregiver status” as an additional protected category in employment. The new law will go into effect on May 4, 2016 to prohibit employment discrimination against employees caring for a minor child or an individual with a disability. The NYCHRL applies to employers with four or more employees. For more information please visit the Mayor's Office website


NYC Commuter Benefits Law

On January 1, 2016, the NYC Commuter Benefits Law went into effect. Under the law, employers with 20 or more full-time, non-union employees are now required to offer a commuter benefits program. Enrollment in a commuter benefits program allows employees to use pre-tax income to pay for transit passes, thereby reducing one's taxable income. To learn more please visit the Q&A page on the Department of Consumer Affairs' website


Image of Governor Cuomo signing $15 Minimum Wage Plan into Law via the Governor’s Office.

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23 hrs ago