Important Labor & Employment Law Updates for 2018

On Tuesday, October 17th the Chamber hosted our 29th Annual Labor & Employment Law Update and were informed of very important information that every business needs to know in order to stay in compliance for 2018.


Paid Family Leave

Starting on January 1st of 2018, any employee who works 20 hours or more per week is eligible for paid family leave benefits if that employee works for a covered employer for 26 or more consecutive weeks. Covered employers include those that have one or more employees employed in New York on each of at least 30 days in any calendar year. There are some employer exemptions, but there are very few and it is best to believe that if you are an employer you are not exempt from the law.


These employees, in 2018, will be eligible to receive 8 weeks of paid family leave and will be paid 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage. Each employer 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. This translates into a maximum contribution of $1.65 per week and capped at $85.56 per year. So employers will need to stay vigilant on how much they are deducting or risk being out of compliance.


Wage and Salary Changes

On December 31st of 2017 the upstate New York minimum wage increases to $10.40 per hour and fast food workers’ pay rate increases to $11.75 per hour in Upstate New York. This is much more difficult if your business has workers downstate, Long Island, or in other parts of the state, as the pay rates will be different.


Also tied to the minimum wage increase is an increase to exempt (salaried) employee’s overtime exemption level to $780.00 per week or $40,560.00 per year. What this means, is if you have a salaried employee who makes less than those amounts, their salaries will need to be increased on 12/31/17 or will need to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week.
Each employee also needs to be notified 7 days prior to any wage changed, as per state law. So if any of your employees will see these, changes, make sure you notify them of these changes. New Department of Labor wage flyers (when developed) will need to be posted at job sites as well.


These are just a few changes that each employer needs to be aware of. Please stay on top of these changes and contact the chamber if you have any questions or concerns.

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