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HR Update: New York State Updates for the Beginning of 2020

By January 21, 2020 No Comments

Throughout the past year the state of New York has had a number of employment law changes. In continuing this trend, here is a list of updates for the beginning of 2020 that will affect New York employers. 

1. Annual Minimum Wage and Salary Threshold Increases The yearly scheduled wage and salary increases have taken effect throughout New York as of December 31, 2019.

Minimum Wage
LocalityNew Wage Per HourPrevious Wage Per Hour
New York City$15.00 $13.50
for employers with 10 or fewer employees
Westchester & Long Island$13.00 $12.00
Remainder of
New York State
$11.80 $11.10
Fast Food Workers outside of
New York City
$13.75 $12.75
Fast Food Workers inside of
New York City
Exempt Employee Salary Threshold
LocalityThreshold per weekPrevious threshold per week
New York City$1,125.00 $1,012.50
for employers with 10 or fewer employees
Westchester and
Long Island
(Nassau and Suffolk)
$975.00 $900.00
Remainder of
New York State
$885.00 $832.00

2. Increases in New York Paid Family Leave Benefits and Premiums 

New York Paid Family Leave is insurance that is funded by employees through payroll deductions. As of January 1, 2020, the employee premium rate has increased from 0.153% of gross wages (capped at $107.97 per year) to 0.270% of gross wages (capped at $196.72 per year). Notably, the Paid Family Leave benefit has also increased to 60% of an employee’s wages for up to 10 weeks (which is up from 55% for 10 weeks).

 YearWeeks of PFL Available Statewide Average Weekly WageBenefit RateMaximum Weekly BenefitPremium RateMaximum Annual Employee Contribution
201910$1,357.11 55%$746.41 0.15%$107.97
202010$1,401.17 60%$840.70 0.27%$196.72

3. Non-Disclosure Agreements 

Since 2018, New York has continued to expand its limitations on non-disclosure provisions in employment agreements. As of January 1, 2020, non-disclosure agreements entered into between an employer and employee that seeks to prevent disclosure of factual information related to  future claims of discrimination must include explicit language allowing an employee or potential employee entering into the non-disclosure agreement to speak with law enforcement, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the state Division of Human Rights, a local commission on human rights, or an attorney. If such language is not present within the agreement, then it will be void and unenforceable to the extent it prevents disclosure of factual information related to any future claims of discrimination.  

4. Salary History Ban 

Previously, depending on location within the state of New York, some employers were prohibited from inquiring or making determinations based on salary history. Effective January 6, 2020, all employers in the state of New York are prohibited from seeking, requesting, or relying on the wage or salary history of an applicant or current employee in determining whether to interview them, or in determining employment or compensation to be offered. Employers may also not take any adverse action against an applicant or employee who refuses to share their salary history.

If an employer makes an offer to an applicant or current employee which includes compensation information, and the applicant or employee responds to the offer by providing prior wage or salary information to negotiate for a higher rate, then an employer has the right to confirm the wage or salary information provided to them. Otherwise, an employer may not use any wage or salary information voluntarily provided to them by an applicant or employee.

5. New York State Labor Law 

The New York State Labor Law has been amended to prohibit all New York employers from discriminating against an employee based on an employee’s sexual and reproductive health choices. Under this new law, employers cannot:

  • access personal information regarding an employee’s or their dependent’s reproductive health decision-making without prior consent,
  • discriminate or retaliate against an employee on the basis of the employee’s or their dependent’s reproductive health decision-making,
  • require employees to sign any document that could deny their right to make reproductive health care decisions, or
  • retaliate against an employee who exercises their right under the law

Effective January 7, 2020, employers with handbooks are required to include a notice of employee rights and remedies under this new amendment.

6. New York State Human Rights Law Will Apply to All NY Employers 

Beginning February 8, 2020, the New York State Human Rights Law will cover all New York employers. Currently, it only applies to private employers with four or more employees (with the exception that it applies to all New York private employers with respect to claims of sexual harassment). Under this new definition of employer, all New York employers will now be subject to the state’s anti-discrimination laws. 

If you have questions, or would like for us to update your Equal Employment Opportunity/Non-Discrimination policies, please contact one of our HR Consultants at 1-888-622-6460.

 *The information provided in this communication is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal, tax, or accounting advice.  

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