New York Announces Increase to Minimum Wage for Upstate Employers

October 11, 2022

By Hannah K. Redmond and Subhash Viswanathan

Effective Dec. 31, 2022, the minimum wage in upstate New York (i.e., every part of the state except New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties) will increase from $13.20 to $14.20 per hour. The New York State Department of Labor recently announced this one dollar increase – which is approximately a 7.5% increase.

The minimum wage for employees working in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties remains unchanged at $15.00 per hour. The minimum wage for fast food employees across the state also remains unchanged at $15.00 per hour. The minimum wage for upstate New York will continue to increase on an annual basis until the statewide minimum wage rate reaches $15.00 per hour regardless of locale. A chart summarizing the minimum wage rates throughout the state is available here.

Employers should keep two important things in mind as they prepare to comply with this forthcoming minimum wage increase. First, the minimum wage increase for goes into effect on Dec. 31, 2022. Therefore, non-exempt employees who work on New Year’s Eve should be paid the increased minimum wage for any hours worked. Second, the applicable minimum wage rate is determined with respect to where the work is performed – not where the employer is located. Thus, an employee working in New York City must be paid at the minimum wage rate applicable to downstate even if his or her employer is headquartered in upstate where the minimum wage has not yet reached $15.00.

An increase to the salary threshold for employees who are classified as exempt under New York’s executive and administrative exemptions has not been finalized for 2023. However, proposed regulatory text issued by the Department of Labor suggests the minimum weekly salary threshold for the executive and administrative exemptions will increase from $990 to $1064.25 per week (inclusive of board, lodging and other allowances and facilities) in upstate New York effective Dec. 31, 2022. Historically, the exempt salary threshold has been 75 times the minimum wage rate; this proposed increase, which will likely be implemented, roughly follows that pattern. There is no proposed increase to the salary threshold for exempt executive and administrative employees working in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, so that threshold will remain at $1,125 per week. There is still no state salary threshold to qualify for the professional exemption, so the federal threshold of $684.00 per week remains applicable for the professional exemption. Employees must continue to meet specified duties requirements to qualify for an exemption.

For any questions about this minimum wage increase, please contact Hannah Redmond, any attorney in Bond’s labor and employment practice or the Bond attorney with whom you are regularly in contact.

Decision Issued Restraining Enforcement of Significant Aspects of New Gun Legislation

October 10, 2022

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

On July 1, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed new legislation in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a law whereby applicants for permits to “conceal and carry” firearms had to show “good cause” as to why they should be issued such a permit. The new legislation—the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA)—modifies the requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit and prohibits the possession of firearms in areas deemed “sensitive” or “restricted.” Restricted areas were defined as private property where the owner or lessee has not given explicit permission for individuals to possess firearms on the property, by posting signage or other means. Thus, under the law, firearms would be prohibited in places of employment except where explicit permission had been given.

Read More >> Decision Issued Restraining Enforcement of Significant Aspects of New Gun Legislation

New York State Adopts the CDC’s COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance

September 22, 2022

By Hannah K. Redmond and Jared A. Joyce

On Sept. 14, 2022, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) issued updated COVID-19 quarantine and isolation guidance, which effectively replaces the guidance from May 31, 2022. According to the September 14 guidance, the NYSDOH will now follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines on quarantine and isolation.

Read More >> New York State Adopts the CDC’s COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance

NLRB Proposes New Rule That Would Expand the Scope of Joint Employment

September 12, 2022

By Gianelle M. Duby

On Sept. 6, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (Board) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would revise the standard for determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The proposed standard would rescind and replace the joint-employer rule that has been in effect since April 27, 2020.

Read More >> NLRB Proposes New Rule That Would Expand the Scope of Joint Employment

New Concealed Carry Law in New York and Gun-Free Zones in Times Square

September 8, 2022

By Samuel G. Dobre

On June 23, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued an historic ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that invalidated a century-old provision of New York’s concealed carry law requiring an applicant to show “proper cause” in order to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home. The Court held that the provision violated the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Employers should consider if they want to allow guns on their premises, and if so, they should post “clear and conspicuous signage” or otherwise provide express consent to visitors or patrons.

Following the Court’s decision, many New Yorkers—particularly those residing in New York City—braced for a possible wave of increased violence. Reports of crime have been on the rise the last few months in various parts of New York City. In April, New York Police Department data showed an 84 percent spike in major crime when compared to 2021 crime rates. NYC business owners are especially frustrated with the increased violence as it places a strain on business during a time when many businesses are still recovering from difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of growing concerns about public safety in New York after the Supreme Court decision, the legislature promptly drafted the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which was recently signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul. The new law will limit who can obtain a gun carry permit, how to obtain a permit and restrictions on where guns may be carried. It prohibits guns in certain “sensitive places” such as government-owned buildings, educational institutions, health care facilities, places of worship, any place where alcohol is consumed and public transportation. The law establishes additional limitations including new eligibility requirements for those seeking concealed carry permits and a more expansive disqualifying criteria (i.e., an interview with a licensing agency, firearms safety training, storage requirements in vehicles). The Concealed Carry Improvement Act took effect on Sept. 1, 2022.

New York City’s Times Square, famously known as a major commercial, tourist and entertainment destination in Midtown Manhattan, is now a gun-free zone. Declared as a “sensitive location,” the New York City Council proposed boundaries for this gun-free zone to extend from Sixth Avenue to Eighth Avenue and from West 40th Street to West 53rd Street. The area will include “Gun Free Zone” signs at every entry point in the zone. Times Square will certainly not be the only “sensitive area” in New York City with restrictions – as subways, schools and other NYC locations are likely to be designated as gun-free zones as well. Employers in this area are well advised to ensure that employees are aware of this restriction.

As a precautionary measure, business owners throughout the state should strongly consider posting signs that explicitly state whether or not guns are allowed on the property, to make the potential presence of firearms on the premises known to all guests and patrons.

If you have any questions, please contact Samuel Dobre, any attorney in Bond’s labor and employment practice or the Bond attorney with whom you are regularly in contact.

Appellate Division’s Interpretation of New York City’s Freelance Law

September 6, 2022

By Samuel G. Dobre

The First Department of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, in a matter of first impression, interpreted New York City’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act (FIFA) in the context of a motion to dismiss (Chen v. Romona Keveza Collection LLC). The Plaintiffs (a photographer and a model), sought to recover payments for services rendered to the Defendant (a high-end luxury fashion brand), claiming the defendant violated FIFA by improperly withholding payments. The Appellate Division ruled that an individual’s representation by an agency or agent does not necessarily disqualify the worker from FIFA’s freelance worker protections.

Read More >> Appellate Division’s Interpretation of New York City’s Freelance Law

Initial Health Care Worker Bonus Requires Filing by September 2

August 16, 2022

By Thomas G. Eron and Catherine A. Graziose

On August 3, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus program, also known as the HWB program. Enacted in New York’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget, the program allocates $1.3 billion for the payment of recruitment and retention bonuses to certain health care and mental hygiene workers. The bonus program is part of the state’s efforts to increase New York’s health care workforce by 20% over the next five years as a response to the staffing crisis seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read More >> Initial Health Care Worker Bonus Requires Filing by September 2

NYS Launches Sexual Harassment Hotline

July 20, 2022

By Theresa E. Rusnak

On July 19, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the launch of a statewide hotline for employees who believe they have been sexually harassed in the workplace. This announcement follows several pieces of legislation1 passed in March 2022, in which sexual harassment protections for employees were expanded. As part of the legislation, the New York State Division of Human Rights was directed to establish a toll-free, confidential hotline for complainants of workplace sexual harassment. Employees can call the hotline and receive advice on their legal rights as applied to their specific circumstances from attorneys, who staff the hotline pro bono. As of July 20, 2022, the hotline is operational from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be reached at 1-800-HARASS-3 (1-800-427-2773).

Read More >> NYS Launches Sexual Harassment Hotline

The Demise of Roe v. Wade: Employment and Benefits Considerations

July 15, 2022

By Thomas G. Eron, Nihla F. Sikkander, Daniel J. Nugent, and Anthony Levitskiy

On June 24, 2022, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., 2022 WL 2276808 (June 24, 2022), the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992) and held that (i) the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion and (ii) the authority to regulate abortion is held by the states. The statute at issue in Dobbs was Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, which banned abortion after 15 weeks except in a medical emergency or in the case of severe fetal abnormality. Employers across the nation must now determine how to evaluate and respond to the far-reaching implications of this decision.

Read More >> The Demise of Roe v. Wade: Employment and Benefits Considerations

New York Passes Gun Legislation in Response to Supreme Court Decision Overturning Licensing Restrictions for Concealed Carry Permits

July 12, 2022

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

On June 23, 2022, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, the U.S. Supreme Court held that New York’s requirements for obtaining permits for the concealed carry of a firearm were unconstitutional in a decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas. Since 1911, New York has prohibited individuals from possessing a firearm without a license. 

Read More >> New York Passes Gun Legislation in Response to Supreme Court Decision Overturning Licensing Restrictions for Concealed Carry Permits