New York State Enacts $15 Minimum Wage

Written by Daniel H. Rowoth

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law a bill that gradually raises the minimum wage for many New York employers to $15 per hour by 2022. New York City employers with at least 11 employees will see the minimum wage reach $15 per hour at the end of 2018. Employees will also be entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid family leave starting in 2018.

Minimum Wage

The schedule for minimum wage increases is based on employer size and location. The minimum wage increases more quickly for employers in or near New York City.

For New York City employers with at least 11 employees, the minimum wage increases to $15 by the end of 2018:

  • $11.00 per hour on December 31, 2016;
  • $13.00 per hour on December 31, 2017; and
  • $15.00 per hour on December 31, 2018.

New York City employers with 10 or fewer employees have until the end of 2019 before the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour:

  • $10.50 per hour on December 31, 2016;
  • $12.00 per hour on December 31, 2017;
  • $13.50 per hour on December 31, 2018; and
  • $15.00 per hour on December 31, 2019.

For New York employers in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, the minimum wage will increase to:

  • $10.00 per hour on December 31, 2016;
  • $11.00 per hour on December 31, 2017;
  • $12.00 per hour on December 31, 2018;
  • $13.00 per hour on December 31, 2019;
  • $14.00 per hour on December 31, 2020; and
  • $15.00 per hour on December 31, 2021.

For New York employers outside of New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, the minimum wage will increase to:

  • $9.70 per hour on December 31, 2016;
  • $10.40 per hour on December 31, 2017;
  • $11.10 per hour on December 31, 2018;
  • $11.80 per hour on December 31, 2019;
  • $12.50 per hour on December 31, 2020;
  • The minimum wage will not rise to $15 in these geographic areas until the state conducts a study and a new indexed schedule is set.

The state will conduct annual economic studies beginning in 2019 to determine if the scheduled increases should be suspended.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

Beginning January 1, 2018, full-time and part-time employees for most New York employers will be eligible for up to 8 weeks of paid family leave in a 52-week period. Paid leave increases to 10 weeks on January 1, 2019 and 12 weeks on January 1, 2021. The paid leave program will be funded by a payroll deduction of 0.5 percent on employees, in effect amending the state's Workers' Compensation Law to add family and medical leave benefits to the already-required disability benefits.

To be eligible for paid family leave, employees must be employed by the employer for 26 consecutive weeks. Eligible employees may use paid leave to care for an infant, a family member with a serious health condition or for “any qualifying exigency” resulting from a family member being called to active military service.

When paid leave starts in 2018, employees on leave are entitled to 50% of the lower of (1) the employee’s average weekly wage rate or (2) the state average weekly wage (which was $1,266.44 in 2014). Weekly paid leave rises annually to the lower of:

  • 55% of an employee’s average weekly wage or 55% of the state average weekly wage on January 1, 2019;
  • 60% of an employee’s average weekly wage or 60% state average weekly wage on January 1, 2020; and
  • 67% of an employee’s average weekly wage or 67% of the state average weekly wage on and after January 1, 2021.
About the Author
Daniel H. Rowoth
Associate
Daniel Rowoth joined the firm in September 2013. Mr. Rowoth is a graduate of Cornell University’s...
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