New York employers face far-reaching employment law changes in 2014

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By Kenneth W Taber and Teresa T Lewi

The arrival of 2014 has already ushered in major reforms to New York’s employment law landscape, with broad ramifications, particularly for New York City employers. The sweeping changes to the state’s minimum wage and unemployment insurance programme, as well as New York City’s pregnancy accommodation and paid sick leave laws, could prove costly to employers that fail to address the laws’ new requirements.

On 31 December 2013, New York’s minimum hourly wage increased from $7.25 (£4.42) to $8.00 (£4.88) and will rise to $8.75 and then to $9.00, effective 31 December 2014 and 31 December 2015 respectively. The New York Department of Labor (NYDOL) is expected soon to finalise its regulations detailing the impact of these minimum wage increases on tipped employees.

Effective 30 January 2014, an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) will require city employers with four or more employees to reasonably accommodate their employees’ pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, so long as the accommodation enables the employee to perform the essential functions of her position. Prior to the amendment’s passage, employers’ obligations to provide reasonable accommodations were limited to those employees with actual disabilities…

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