Nobody ever said running a business was a walk in the park. As an employer, you have a lot of balls in the air, and compliance is just one of them. One really, really important one that, if dropped, could cost you a whole lot of money.
In addition to federal regulations, each state has their own share of employment laws that business owners need to be aware of. Here, we’re highlighting some of these key state-specific requirements and laws, and offering guidance to help you keep up.
Bear in mind, this list is not comprehensive, and there may be local or industry-specific employment requirements that your business needs to comply with. It’s best to consult with counsel to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, as Justworks does not provide legal advice.
Payroll Tax Accounts
Because Justworks reports New York State unemployment taxes on your behalf, you’ll need to close your New York State Unemployment and Withholding accounts prior to joining our platform. Here are the steps to do that.
Recruiting & Hiring Practices
New York does not presently have a statewide ban-the-box law applicable to private employers. However, several localities — Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, and Westchester County — have ban-the-box laws that are currently in effect for private employers. These laws generally prohibit employers from asking about the criminal record of job applicants during the initial application phase, or until a conditional job offer has been made.
City of Buffalo: Fair Employment Screening
New York City: Fair Chance Act
City of Rochester: Ban the Box Ordinance
Westchester County: Fair Chance to Work Act
Salary History Ban
Employers in New York are prohibited from asking candidates about current or prior compensation during the hiring process, including salary, wage and benefits history.
New York Department of Labor (DOL): Salary History Ban
New York City Commission on Human Rights: NYC Salary History Question Ban
ThinkHR: Salary History Bans by State*
Wage Theft Prevention Act
In the state of New York, employers are required to satisfy the requirements of the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) via the presentation of wage notices, templates for which are available for download in Justworks administrators’ Document Centers.
When classifying workers as employees or independent contractors, there are a few things to consider, including the different tests that apply under different federal and state employment laws, and potential penalties and other liabilities for misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Certain state laws apply tests that are more stringent than the guidance provided by federal agencies, such as the IRS and Department of Labor, to comply with federal laws.
You can read our general Help Center article on contractors, and view information on how to determine if someone is a contractor or employee in New York in the relevant section at the link below.
New York Workers’ Compensation Board: Identifying an Independent Contractor
New York DOL: Independent Contractors
ThinkHR: New York Independent Contractors*
Sick and Safe Leave
Under New York’s paid sick leave law, all employees in New York are eligible to accrue and use up to 40 hours (or 56 hours depending on certain factors) of sick leave each year.
Certain employers in New York City and Westchester County may also be subject to additional sick and/or safe leave laws. If more than one paid sick or safe leave law applies, you must comply with the provisions of each law that most benefit the employee.
Statutory Disability insurance provides case benefit of income lost due to an off-the-job disabling injury or illness.
Paid Family Leave
The New York Paid Family Leave program (NY PFL) provides many employees paid family leave to help balance caring for their loved ones and protecting their economic security. This law covers a lot of ground, so here are a few resources to help you understand the ins and outs:
New York employers can find the most up-to-date minimum wage requirements from the New York State Department of Labor. The minimum wage is based on where an employee performs work. Workers must be paid the minimum wage rate for their work location regardless of where the main office of their employer is located.
New York has exemption regulations that differ in some ways from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers should review the requirements when determining whether an employee is exempt from minimum wages and overtime requirements.
Learn about the state's annual increases to the salary threshold for exempt executive and administrative employees: Salary Threshold for New York State.
New York DOL: Minimum Wage
New York DOL: Overtime Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
ThinkHR: New York Minimum Wage and Overtime*
Commuter Benefits (New York City)
New York City's Commuter Benefits Law requires employers with 20 or more full-time employees in New York City to offer their full-time employees the opportunity to use pre-tax income to pay for their commute. Justworks can help customers satisfy local requirements by providing access to pre-tax deductions towards commuter costs via ConnectYourCare.
Harassment & Discrimination
In addition to protections under Federal law, New York law prohibits employment discrimination based on membership in any protected class by employers covered under New York's anti-discrimination laws. Further, New York City has additional protections prohibiting employment discrimination under its own local anti-discrimination laws.
New York Division of Human Rights: New Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Protections
New York City: Commission on Human Rights Law
ThinkHR: New York Prohibitions on Discrimination*
New York State requires that every employer adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy that includes a complaint form for employees to report alleged incidents of sexual harassment. A model policy and complaint form is available to employers for implementation. If an employer does not adopt the model policy it must ensure that their policy meets or exceeds certain minimum standards.
Every employer in New York State is required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training to all employees annually. An employer that does not use the model training developed by the Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights must ensure that the training that they use meets or exceeds the certain minimum standards.
Additionally, employers in New York City are subject to further requirements as it relates to training. Notably, independent contractors who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year and for at least 90 days must also complete the anti-sexual harassment training.
Justworks has teamed up with EVERFI to offer customers free access to a suite of trainings, which meet or exceed New York State and New York City minimum standards.
New York’s pay equity law is both broader and more protective than its Federal counterpart.
New York DOL: Guidance on Pay Equity
New York employers should familiarize themselves with specific compliance issues and certain key documents for terminating employees.
Business Closings and Layoffs
Federal and New York law impose certain notice and other obligations on businesses before conducting large-scale business closures, layoffs, or relocations. Under New York Law, businesses with as few as 50 employees may be covered and subject to a 90 day advanced notice period prior to implementing covered closures, layoffs, or relocations. For more information on these laws, visit the links below.
U.S. Department of Labor: Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act Advisor
New York DOL: Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification
ThinkHR: New York Plant Closings*
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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.