NYS Min. Wage Increases and NYC / Jersey City Employers Face Mandatory Sick Leave Provision

An increase in the New York State Minimum Wage is coming at the end of this Holiday season.  Those employers in New York City, and Jersey City, will be additionally burdened with new regulations regarding Sick Leave in the coming year.

The New York State Minimum Wage Increases on December 31, 2013 and Will Impact a Number of Wage Related Matters

Effective December 31, 2013 the New York State minimum wage will increase dramatically from $7.25 per hour to $8.00 per hour.
Another dramatic increase, to $8.75, will go into effect on December 31, 2014. The final adjustment, effective December 31, 2015 will bring the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour.
An increase in the minimum wage also impacts wage supplements such as tip, meal and lodging allowances.  Also the split shift / spread of hours requirements (paying 1 hour at minimum wage for shifts of over 10 hours) will be higher.
Although not directly related to the minimum wage, the weekly salary necessary for an individual to be considered exempt from overtime, in New York, under the Administrative and Executive exemptions jumps from $455 to $600, $656.25 and $675 per week effective December 31, 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Jersey City and New York City Compel Mandatory Sick Leave

Jersey City
Private employers employing 10 or more employees in Jersey City must, effective January 23, 2014 (the effective date for unionized employers is the expiration date of their current agreement) provide paid sick leave.  Those employers with less than 10 employees must provide unpaid sick leave. The sick leave benefit  permits time off for employees to attend to their own health or the health of family members (child, sibling, parent, grandparent or spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner). To be covered, an employee must work 80 hours a year in Jersey City. If an employer has existing policies which satisfy the requirements no additional leave is required. Sick leave is accumulated at the rate of one (1) hour for every 30 hours worked to a maximum accumulation of 40 hours. Employees may not take sick time until they complete 90 days of employment. Employers must post a notice of employee rights to sick leave and must advise new hires and existing employees in writing of their rights
New York City
New York City will have a Paid Sick Time Act if the Independent Budget Office determines on December 16, 2013 that New York City’s economy is healthy enough to implement the law. If so, Employers will, effective April 1, 2014, have to provide employees up to 40 hours of paid or unpaid sick time annually depending on the employer’s size.
Implementation of the law is staggered. us, employers with 20 or more employees as of April 1, 2014 will have to provide employees up to 40 hours of paid sick leave annually. Those employers with 15-19 employees will only have to provide employees with unpaid time. On October 1, 2015 paid time will be required of employers with 15 or more employees and unpaid time required of employers with fewer than 15 employees.
Whether paid or unpaid, employees will accrue one hour of leave for every 30 hours of work up to a total of 40 hours in a calendar year. Accrual starts on the date of hire or effective date of the law, but may not be taken until after 120 days from the commencement of accrual.
Sick leave is for an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition or to care for an ill family member (spouse, domestic partner, child or parent) or for care of a child when the child’s childcare provider is closed due to a public health emergency (e.g., Hurricane Sandy).
If you have questions regarding the minimum wage increases or the mandatory Sick Leave provisions, feel free to contact Jonathan D. Farrell, Esq. or Peter A. Schneider, Esq., co-chairmen of the Labor & Employment Group at Meltzer Lippe.