New York Employer Alert

By Jeffrey A. Kimmel

The New Year is bringing about many changes in employment law, affecting businesses across the state. Below is a brief summary of many of these laws. Employers should review and modify their policies and practices to ensure compliance.1

Minimum Wage Increases and Varies Based on Number of Employees and Business Location

Effective December 31, 2016, in New York City, for employers with eleven (11) or more employees, the minimum wage will increase to $11.00/hr. For employers with less than eleven (11) employees, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50/hr. For businesses located in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties, the minimum wage will be $10.00/hr., and for businesses in the remainder of New York State, the minimum wage will be $9.70 per hr.

For fast-food workers in New York City, the minimum wage will increase to $12.00/hr., while for fast-food workers in the rest of New York State the minimum wage will be $10.75/hr.

Bathroom Law

Effective January 1, 2017, New York City employers must remove any signs designating singleoccupancy bathrooms for a particular gender, and, instead, post signs indicating that the restrooms are unisex.

New Overtime Regulations for White Collar Workers Based on Number of Employees and Business Locations

Although the United States Department of Labor ("USDOL") federal overtime revisions originally due to go into effect in 2017 have been placed on hold, and the status of the salary basis threshold for exempt employees pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") is unclear, the New York State Department of Labor ("NYSDOL") has adopted its own amendments ("Amendments") to increase the salary requirements for the executive and administrative overtime exemptions.

In order to properly classify employees as exempt from overtime, New York employers must ensure that its employees are earning (at minimum) the higher of either the salary basis threshold of the FLSA or New York Wage Orders.

Effective December 31, 20162, the Amendments implement the following increases to New York’s salary threshold for administrative and executive exemptions:

  • New York City:
    • $825.00 per week ($42,900 annually) for employers with 11 or more employees;
    • $787.50 per week ($40,950 annually) for employers with 10 or fewer employees.
    • Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties: $750.00 per week ($39,000 annually).
    • For the rest of New York state: $727.50 per week ($37,830 annually).

The weekly salary thresholds will increase annually until the salary threshold reaches $1,125 per week ($58,500 annually) in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, and $937.50 per week ($48,750 annually) in other parts of the state. New York employers whose otherwise exempt executive and administrative employees are currently paid less than the new salary threshold, must increase those salaries to the new minimum beginning with the paycheck or direct deposit covering December 31, 2016, or must begin to pay overtime premiums to those employees.

Revised I-9 Form

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a new Form I-9, which employers must begin using on January 22, 2017. Employers can be fined for using an expired Form I-9. The new form can be found on the USCIS website and will be valid through August 31, 2019.

Family Leave

Although not effective for another year, employers should prepare for New York’s new paid family leave law. Beginning January 1, 2018, a phased-in system of paid family leave benefits will begin providing employees (who have been working for their employers for at least six (6) months) with up to twelve (12) weeks of paid family leave annually to care for an infant or family member with a serious health condition, or to assist with family obligations when a family member is called into active military service. Employees will be compensated through a state fund, at a rate of up to fifty percent (50%) of the individual’s average weekly wage, with a maximum paid leave of fifty percent (50%) of the statewide average weekly wage.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss compliance with these new employment rules, please do not hesitate to contact Jeffrey A. Kimmel at (212) 655-3578 or Naomi Lantsberg at (212) 655-3550.

1 The information in this blog/article is for educational purposes only and to give you a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading this blog/article, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the blog/article publisher. The blog/article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice and readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

2 Until December 31, 2016, the salary threshold for administrative and executive exemptions in New York state was $675 per week ($35,100 annually).

New York    |    California    |    Connecticut    |    New Jersey    |    Massachusetts
© 2016 Meister Seelig & Fein LLP. All Rights Reserved.