New York 2018 labor law updates

Note: View the 2021 New York state labor laws in our employment law guide

At the state level, this year New York has passed several notable employment laws.  Many take effect January 1, 2018.   

New York passed a Family Leave Law that allows employees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave annually.  The Federal Leave law only applies to employers with 50 or more employees in a 75 mile radius.  New York’s leave law applies to employers with only one employee in the state of New York.  The program phases in incrementally.

In 2018, employees will be eligible to receive 8 weeks of paid family leave at 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage. Employers must purchase a paid family leave insurance policy or self-insure to cover the cost. Premiums for the policy will be “fully funded” through a small payroll deduction of .126% of an employee’s weekly wage, maxing out at the New York State average weekly wage.

The State of New York has also included electronic devices as prohibited smoking devices in public areas.  

Predictive scheduling is not yet in effect in the State of New York although it is currently in the comment period until January 8, 2018.  Get your schedules streamlined now to prepare for predictive scheduling that may be enforced next year.  

New York City is among several others who have banned employers from asking about an applicant’s salary history.   A few other regulations taking effect in 2018 for NYC, the city expanded the sick leave law to cover “safe time” if an employee or family member is a victim of a sexual offence and fast food employees must be able to make payroll deductions for voluntary contributions to non-profits.

Recently taking effect November 26, 2018 are New York City’s Fair Workweek Laws.  There are regulations for Fast Food Establishments and different regulations for Retail Employers.  Fast food establishments are covered if its primary purpose is serving food or drink, customers pay before eating, or it’s part of a chain with standardized options for decor, products and services and is one of 30 or more establishments.  

The regulations as they apply to fast food establishments require that employers:

  • Employers must not hire new employees without first offering the shifts to current employees.  
  • Provide employees with a good-faith estimate, in writing, setting forth the number of hours they can expect to work per week for the duration of their employment with expected dates, times and locations for the scheduled work hours.   
  • Before the fast food employees’ first day of work, provide a written work schedule that identifies their regular and on-call shifts. The schedule must span a period of at least seven days.  
  • Must provide 14 days written notice and posting of an employee’s schedule.
  • Must not schedule employees for back to back shifts with less than 11 hours between shifts.  
  • Must obtain written consent before an employee can work hours not included in their initial written work schedules.  
  • If a fast food employee’s schedule varies from the original written schedule, the employee will be entitled to certain premiums from a minimum of $10 for a change to the schedule with 7 – 14 days notice to $75 for each change to the work schedule provided with less than 24 hours’ notice.  Employers will not have to pay penalties if there are threats to the employees or employer’s property, utility or public transportation shutdown, natural disaster.

Retail businesses have a different set of scheduling regulations.  Retail employers are banned from scheduling employees for on-call shifts, and they must not cancel a shift or schedule an employee with less than 72 hours notice. A retail business is is a business engaged in the sale of consumer goods at one or more stores within the city with 20 or more employees on average during the year.   

Federal labor law updates in 2018

For the most part, there are no new major regulations at the federal level taking effect in 2018.

That said, be ready for increased scrutiny and enforcement from immigration officials. ICE Director Thomas Homan has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (ICE’s investigative arm) to increase their time spent on worksite enforcement by “four or five times” next year.

To prepare your workplace, conduct an i-9 audit now, and be sure to use the updated form i-9 for newly hired employees and review the updated i-9 handbook for employers.

It’s also possible that the federal government will update the threshold under which salaried employees may be eligible for overtime in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While it currently stands at $23,660, many experts expect it’ll increase in the next year.

Next steps

Make sure you’re in compliance with any new and existing labor laws, and be sure to seek legal counsel on these and all employment law issues. Learn more about how Homebase can help you stay compliant with federal and state labor laws

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