For any New York employer who thought that the state’s workplace rules and regulations were too easy to comply with, I have good news for you. Empire State lawmakers recently announced an agreement on the 2016-2017 state budget that includes both a complicated, location-specific minimum wage increase, and a comprehensive paid family leave scheme that will take effect in 2018.
Minimum Wage Increase
The new minimum wage increase announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo presents perhaps the most complex wage scheme the state has ever seen. It accounts for regional differences and staggers implementation over as many as five years in parts of the state. Specifically:
- For workers in New York City employed by large businesses (those with at least 11 employees), the minimum wage would rise to $11/hour at the end of 2016, then another $2 each year after that, eventually reaching $15 on December 31, 2018.
- For workers in New York City employed by small businesses (those with 10 employees or fewer), the minimum wage would rise to $10.50/hour by the end of 2016, then another $1.50 each year after that, eventually reaching $15 on December 31, 2019.
- For workers in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, the minimum wage would increase to $10/hour at the end of 2016, then $1 each year after that, reaching $15 on December 31, 2021.
- For workers in the rest of the state, the minimum wage would increase to $9.70/hour at the end of 2016, then another $0.70 each year after until reaching $12.50 on December 31, 2020, after which it would continue to increase to $15 on an indexed schedule to be set by the director of the Division of Budget (DOB) in consultation with the state Department of Labor.
- The minimum cash wage for food service workers receiving tips would be two-thirds of the minimum wage rates listed above, depending on the location where the employee works.
- Finally, beginning in 2019, the DOB would review the economy in each region to determine whether a temporary suspension of the scheduled minimum wage increases is appropriate under the circumstances.