State of New York (NY) Employment Laws
This state employment law section provides a range of state employment laws and posters. For your convenience, the poster section features both downloadable state and federal posters. Employment laws will typically vary from state to state. For further information or for individual issues your company may be experiencing, it is always prudent to contact your state labor department or an employment law attorney knowledgeable in your state employment laws.
Please view the left-hand navigation for the various state laws covered in this section.
New State Law Grants Nondiscrimination Protections to Unpaid Interns
A new law effective as of July 22, 2014 (applicable to employers with 4 or more employees) grants certain nondiscrimination protections to unpaid interns.
Civil Rights Protections
Covered employers are generally prohibited from taking the following actions based on an intern’s age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, or domestic violence victim status:
- Refusing to hire or employ or barring or discharging an intern or discriminating against such intern in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment as an intern;
- Discriminating against an intern in receiving, classifying, disposing, or otherwise acting upon applications for internships; or
- Printing or circulating (or causing to be printed or circulated) any statement, advertisement or publication, or using any form of application for employment as an intern or making any inquiry in connection with prospective employment, which directly or indirectly expresses any limitation, specification or discrimination (or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination).
Pregnancy and Harassment
Covered employers are also generally prohibited from, among other things, compelling an intern who is pregnant to take a leave of absence (unless the intern is prevented by such pregnancy from performing the activities involved in the job or occupation in a reasonable manner). The law also extends certain protections against harassment.
The law does not create an employment relationship between an employer and intern for certain provisions of state labor law.
Click here to read the text of the law. A summary of the law is also available from the state Division of Human Rights.
Rochester: Ban the Box Ordinance Effective November 18, 2014
Under a new ordinance effective November 18, 2014, employers with 4 or more employees (including temporary, job placement, referral, or other employment agencies) that employ persons in any position for which the primary place of work is located within Rochester are generally prohibited from:
- Making any inquiry regarding—or requiring any person to disclose or reveal—any criminal conviction during the application process (beginning when an applicant inquires about the employment sought and ending when an employer has conducted an initial interview or made a conditional offer of employment); or
- Asking at any time for applicants to disclose information about any of the following (unless such inquiry is specifically required or permitted by state or federal law):
- Arrests that resulted in a youthful offender adjudication under state law;
- Arrests processed as juvenile delinquency proceedings in family court;
- Arrests that resulted in a sealing under state law; or
- Convictions sealed under state law.
Click here for more information and exceptions to the law.
NYC: Ordinance Grants Interns Protections Under Local Nondiscrimination Law
Under a new ordinance, the provisions of the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) relating to employees will apply to interns. Under the NYCHRL, employers with 4 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against individuals on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, disability (including pregnancy), or marital status, among other protected classes.
The ordinance defines “intern” as an individual who, without regard to whether the employer pays such individual a salary or wage, performs work for an employer on a temporary basis whose work:
- Provides training or supplements training given in an educational environment such that the employability of the individual performing the work may be enhanced;
- Provides experience for the benefit of the individual performing the work; and
- Is performed under the close supervision of existing staff.
The ordinance was enacted on April 15, 2014 and takes effect 60 days after enactment. Click here for more information.
Wage Deduction Rules Effective as of October 9, 2013
The New York State Department of Labor has issued rules concerning the state’s Wage Deductions Law. Highlights of the rules include clarifications and examples of permissible and prohibited deductions under the law; and procedures (including required notice/authorization) for lawfully deducting overpayments due to an employer’s mathematical or clerical error and repayment of advances of wages.
The rules are effective as of October 9, 2013. Click here to read the text of the rules.
NYC: New Law Requires Reasonable Accommodation for Pregnancy and Notice to Employees
Effective January 30, 2014, employers in New York City employing 4 or more employees are generally required to provide a reasonable accommodation to the needs of an employee for her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition that will allow the employee to perform the essential requisites of the job.
A reasonable accommodation may include, among other things, bathroom breaks, leave for a period of disability arising from childbirth, breaks to facilitate increased water intake, periodic rest for those who stand for long periods of time, and assistance with manual labor.
(Note that under state law, it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to compel an employee who is pregnant to take a leave of absence, unless the employee is prevented by such pregnancy from performing the activities involved in the job or occupation in a reasonable manner.)
An employer must provide written notice of the right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions to:
- New employees at the commencement of employment; and
- Existing employees within 120 days after the effective date of the local law.
Such notice may also be conspicuously posted at an employer's place of business in an area accessible to employees. Click here to download the notice.
State Minimum Wage Will Increase to $9.00 Per Hour Over Next Three Years
Governor Cuomo and state legislative leaders have announced that the minimum wage in New York will rise to $8.00 per hour, effective December 31, 2013, as part of a budget plan containing several provisions affecting employers. The enacted budget includes additional increases in New York's state minimum wage over the next several years, as follows:
- $8.75 per hour beginning December 31, 2014; and
- $9.00 per hour beginning December 31, 2015 (or if greater at that time, the federal minimum wage or other wage established under state law).
Other highlights of the state's budget plan include a number of tax credits for employers:
- Minimum Wage Reimbursement Credit. For taxable years 2014 through 2018, qualified employers hiring certain student workers, who are between 16 and 19 years of age and are paid the minimum wage, may be eligible for a tax credit.
- Hire a Vet Credit. For taxable years 2015 and 2016, qualified employers may be eligible for a tax credit for hiring certain qualified veterans (at least 35 hours per week) for at least one year.
- Youth Works Tax Credit. The Youth Works Tax Credit, which may be available to qualified employers for hiring certain low-income and at-risk youths, has been extended. To participate in the program, employers must submit an application at certain intervals during 2014 through 2017.
Additional information is available on the minimum wage increase and the tax credits in the budget law.
September 7, 2012: Wage Deductions Law Amended
Governor Cuomo signed into law A10785-2011, which amends the state’s Wage Deductions Law. Key provisions of the amendments include the following:
- Establishment of additional categories of permissible wage deductions that may be taken by employers with the consent of employees.
- Limits on deductions for certain items by requiring that the aggregate amount of such purchases within a pay period not exceed a maximum amount established by the employer, as well as a maximum limit established by the employee; deductions for such purchases are not permitted when they exceed the lower of these two limits. An employer would also be obligated to provide an employee with information regarding purchases and a running total of all charges that would be deducted from the employee's wages on the next payday.
- Use of wage deductions to recapture overpayments of wages due to clerical or mathematical error or for repayment of advances on wages paid to employees.
Employee authorizations to permitted deductions must be kept on file on the employer's premises for the period during which the employee is employed by the employer and for 6 years after employment ends.
The amendments are effective November 6, 2012. You may read the amendments in their entirety by clicking here.
April 12, 2012: Establishment of New York Statewide Health Exchange
Governor Cuomo has issued an Executive Order to establish a statewide Health Exchange to allow New Yorkers to obtain health coverage and facilitate the purchase and sale of qualified health plans in the state. Additionally, the Exchange will ensure that eligible small businesses and individuals receive premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. As required by the Affordable Care Act, the Exchange is expected to be operational by January 1, 2014. Please click here for more information.
June 24, 2011: New York Enacts Marriage Equality Act
Governor Cuomo has signed into law the Marriage Equality Act, granting same-sex couples in New York who seek to marry equal status under the law as well as the same rights, benefits and protections available to married couples of the opposite sex.
The Marriage Equality Act amends New York's Domestic Relations Law to state:
- A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex.
- No government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being the same sex or a different sex.
- No application for a marriage license shall be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same or a different sex.
The Marriage Equality Act becomes effective July 24, 2011.
For more information, you may read the bill in its entirety by clicking here. The bill memo is available here. You may also view the press release. Tax-related information is also available from the NY Department of Taxation and Finance.
December 14, 2010: New York Wage Theft Prevention Act Signed into Law
New York Governor David A. Paterson has signed into law the Wage Theft Prevention Act, which addresses the failure by some employers to pay statutorily-mandated minimum wages and overtime by requiring annual notifications of wages, expanding notifications, enhancing available remedies for wage law violations and strengthening whistleblower protections. The bill would enact a wide-ranging series of measures to provide information to workers on the wages they are owed, and to heighten sanctions on those who fail to pay their workers the compensation to which they are entitled.
The Wage Theft Prevention Act:
- Enacts more stringent and transparent record-keeping and employee notification requirements;
- Increases the amount of wages that can be recovered as damages in a suit for non-payment over and above the lost wages themselves - from 25 percent to 100 percent, the amount allowable under Federal law;
- Creates stronger collection tools;
- Raises criminal penalties for failure to pay minimum wage to up to a year in prison and $5,000 fine; and
- Strengthens protections for whistleblowers in cases involving wage violations.
The Act takes effect on April 9, 2011.
To view the New York State Department of Labor's press release, please click here.
August 31, 2010: New York Enacts Domestic Worker Law
The State of New York has enacted the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, that changes a variety of employment laws related to domestic workers. Among other changes, the bill provides domestic workers:
- The right to overtime pay at time and a half after 40 hours of work in a week, or 44 hours for in-home workers;
- A day of rest every seven days, or overtime pay if it is waived;
- Three paid days of rest annually after one year of work;
- The removal of the domestic workers exemption from the Human Rights Law, and the creation of a special cause of action for domestic workers who suffer sexual or racial harassment; and
- The extension of statutory disability benefits to domestic workers, to the same degree as other workers.
The new law is effective November 29, 2010. For more information, please click here.
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