Employment Law Updates Impacting New York Employers

April 26, 2024

Employers in New York State should be aware of several recent employment updates that will become effective in the coming months. As detailed in this Employment Alert, the recent New York State budget has provided for paid breaks and leave applicable to working parents; New York City has imposed a requirement to notify employees of their “Bill of Rights”; and the U.S. Department of Labor has raised minimum salary thresholds for overtime exemptions.

New York State Budget Contains Key Employment Law Updates

On April 20, 2024, the New York State 2024-2025 budget was approved, which budget contains provisions affecting employee break and leave benefits.

First, starting June 19, 2024, New York State employers will need to provide 30 minutes of paid break time each time an employee has a reasonable need to express breast milk while at work. To the extent employees require more than 30 minutes at a time, employers must permit employees to also use existing paid break or meal time for longer fully paid breaks. Presently, such breaks must be accommodated by employers, but can be unpaid.

Second, starting January 1, 2025, New York State employers will need to provide employees with 20 hours (within a 52-week period) of paid prenatal leave, to be used for pregnancy and related medical appointments. This prenatal leave can be used in hourly increments. This leave is in addition to the sick leave that employers in New York already must provide to all employees.

Third, as of July 31, 2025, New York State employers will no longer need to provide paid time off for employees subject to a quarantine or isolation order due to COVID-19. Until then, however, employers will need to continue to provide time off for employees in line with such orders and CDC guidance. This requirement has been in effect since March 2020, and is summarized in a prior alert, available here.

New York City Workers’ Bill of Rights

New York City employers will be required to “provide to each employee employed by such employer, no later than July 1, 2024, and thereafter on or before an employee’s first day of work,” a QR code poster (available here), which will re-direct employee to the City’s new Workers’ Bill of Rights webpage.

In addition to requiring distribution to each individual employee, employers must also “conspicuously post the [QR code poster] at an employer’s place of business in an area accessible and visible to employees employed by such employer; and employers “shall make available online or on its mobile application the [QR code poster] for employees to view if such means are regularly used to communicate with its employees.”

Starting July 1, 2024, employees will be able to file a complaint online if their employer is not in compliance with this requirement, with employers facing a penalty of $500 for each violation, though a first violation will simply result in a warning and corrective action request.

US DOL Raises “Minimum Salary Thresholds” for Overtime Exemptions

Although not particularly game-changing for New York employers, who already have been subject to elevated minimum salary thresholds enacted by the state, on April 23, 2024, the US Department of Labor issued a Final Rule raising the minimum salary threshold to qualify for Executive, Administrative, and Professional exemptions under federal law. The Final Rule raises this salary threshold from $684 per week ($35,568 annually) to $844 per week ($43,888 annually), effective July 1, 2024. The Final Rule also provides that this minimum salary threshold will further increase to $1,128 per week ($58,656 annually), effective January 1, 2025, and provides for additional updates every three years.

By comparison, the current New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester salary threshold is $1,200 per week ($62,400 annually), which will rise to $1,237.50 per week ($64,350 annually) on January 1, 2025. In the rest of New York State, the minimum salary threshold is $1,124.20 per week ($58,458.40 annually), and will be $1,161.65 per week ($60,405.80 annually) starting January 1, 2025.

As employers should be aware by now, under both federal and state law, in order for an employee to be properly exempt from overtime, they generally must satisfy both the salary basis test (by paying at least the minimum applicable salary above) and a duties test. Summaries of the duties test under New York State law are included here, depending on if the employee is Executive, Administrative, or Professional, and summaries under federal law can be accessed here.

As noted above, the Final Rule takes effect on July 1, 2024. As with prior efforts by the US Department of Labor to raise these minimum salary thresholds, legal challenges to this Final Rule are likely.

For more information on this issue or other employment matters, please contact:

Carol M. Goodman at +1 212 592 1465 or [email protected]
Basil C. Sitaras at +1 212 592 1572 or [email protected]
Pamela A. Frederick at +1 212 592 1591 or [email protected]
Meaghan Roe at +1 212 592 1632 or [email protected]

© 2024 Herrick, Feinstein LLP. This alert is provided by Herrick, Feinstein LLP to keep its clients and other interested parties informed of current legal developments that may affect or otherwise be of interest to them. The information is not intended as legal advice or legal opinion and should not be construed as such.