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Paul Zimmerman

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Employer Alert: Key 2017 New York Employment Law Updates

Recent federal, state, and municipal employment law developments will have a significant impact on employers in 2017. Employers must update their employee handbooks, employment agreements, arbitration agreements, confidentiality agreements, and related policies and procedures to ensure that they are compliant with these developments. This is Part III of a four part series exploring key employment law updates for 2017. Part I reviewed important changes to United States federal law, and Part II explored updates to California state law.

We now address significant updates to New York state law:

Bathroom Law; Gender Neutrality. Effective January 1, 2017, any employer in New York City, restaurants and bars included, with single-occupancy bathrooms must remove any sign designating such bathrooms as being for  a certain gender.

Family Leave. Beginning on January 1, 2018, a phased-in system of paid family leave benefits will begin, providing employees with up to twelve 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. When implemented, this new law will be the most comprehensive state paid family leave law in the country. Employers have been given over one year of lead time to prepare for the law’s detailed requirements.

Minimum Wage. Beginning on December 31, 2016, workers employed in New York City, certain counties, and New York State will be entitled to higher minimum wages, increasing over time and varying by size of business and location.  For employees working in multiple regions, employers are required to pay employees the applicable rate for all hours worked in each region.

Restaurant Minimum Wage. Food service workers receiving tips will be entitled to receive 2/3 of the applicable minimum wage. Fast food workers will receive increased minimum wages, with different amounts for New York City and New York State.

Wage Payment Methods. Beginning on March 7, 2017, employers can no longer require employees to accept pay cards as a form of payment of wages. In addition, they must comply with strict notice requirements regarding pay cards, including providing a list of locations, within a reasonable distance from home or work, at which the employee may withdraw money from pay cards without fees or charges.

Stay tuned for Part IV of this series exploring new employment laws in Illinois.

This blog post is not offered as, and should not be relied on as, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations.