With the start of 2022, there are several new state taking effect that impact employers.
New York’s minimum wage increased across the state on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. The upstate minimum wage increased to $13.20 per hour and increased to $15 per hour in Long Island and Westchester County. New York City already had a $15 minimum wage. Under New York State Labor Law, employers are required to post wage notices in plain view. Click here for more information and updated minimum wage posters.
New York’s statewide ban on single-use food containers and packaging peanuts made of polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam) took effect on Jan. 1, 2022. The ban prohibits businesses from selling or distributing Styrofoam packaging, even for food and beverages. Certain covered businesses with annual gross income under $500,000 per location and that do not have more than 10 locations or part of a franchise may be eligible for a 12-month waiver. For more information or to request a waiver, click here.
New York State has significantly expanded whistleblower laws giving new protections to private sector employees. The new law, effective Jan. 26, 2022, prohibits private-sector employers from retaliating against employees, former employees, and independent contractors for disclosing or threatening to disclose, to a supervisor or public body, any conduct that they reasonably believe violates any law, rule or regulation, executive order, or judicial ruling or order. The law also prohibits retaliation if employees, former employees, and independent contractors reasonably believe the conduct constitutes a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. These changes could lead to an increase in litigation against employers. Businesses should be aware of these changes and ensure any employee handbooks, training, and employee policies are updated.