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new york employment law

New York employment law changes for 2020

As a business owner, you may not be able to predict what legal problems you’ll face in the future, but you can avoid a number of issues by making an effort to comply with the law. Here are a few recent changes to New York State and/or New York City employment law that employers should be conscious of in 2020.


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If you have questions about how recent changes in employment law impact your business, ask a lawyer.


Westchester sick and safe leave time

As of March 30, 2019, Westchester County employees are entitled to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year according to the Earned Sick Leave Law (ESLL). Westchester county, not long after the ESLL was executed, passed the Safe Time Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence and Trafficking Law (STLL). The STLL, which took effect on October 30, 2019, requires Westchester County employers to provide employees who are victims of domestic violence or human trafficking with 40 hours of paid “safe leave” per year. Eligible employees can use this time to appear or testify in criminal or civil court proceedings relating to domestic violence or human trafficking and/or move to a safe location. 

Salary history ban

Approximately 2 years ago, New York City amended its Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to ban employers from looking at an applicant’s salary history during the hiring process. Building upon NYC’s example, New York state recently passed legislation that prohibits employers from asking for salary history information from both applicants and current employees. 

Broadly speaking, employers cannot use salary history to decide whether an applicant should be hired or in determining the applicant’s wages. Similarly, employers cannot deny an employee a promotion because they did not provide a salary history.

Individuals who have been refused employment because they did not provide salary information to the employer can pursue compensation for any resulting damages. This legislation is effective as of January 6, 2020.

New York minimum wage increase

Starting December 30, 2019, minimum wage requirements for most employers in New York State are: 

Location# of employeesMinimum wage
New York City11+$15.00/hr 
(No change)
New York City10 or less$15.00/hr 
(Originally $13.50/hr)
Westchester & Long IslandN/A$13.00/hr 
(Originally $12.00/hr)
Remainder of New York stateN/A$11.80/hr 
(Originally $11.10/hr)

Compliance with these employment laws can help to minimize legal risk for your business and help you feel more prepared for the year to come.

If you have questions regarding employment practices, ask a lawyer or check out more resources for employers.

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