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, and sometimes county or city, 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 other 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 State 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
New York employers are prohibited from asking candidates about current or prior compensation – including current or past salary or wages and benefits during the hiring process.
New York Department of Labor (DOL): Salary History Ban
New York City Commission on Human Rights: NYC Salary History Question Ban
Mineral: Salary History Bans by State*
New York State and various localities have enacted salary transparency laws to ensure fair and equitable pay. The salary transparency laws require most employers to include the expected salary range in all internal and external job postings and advertisements. Employers in New York State, New York City, Westchester County, and Itcaca should familiarize themselves with the requirements under each applicable law.
New York City Commission on Human Rights: Salary Transparency Fact Sheet
Westchester County Human Rights Commission: Salary Transparency
City of Ithaca: Salary Transparency
Mineral: New York Pay Equity and Transparency*
Wage Theft Prevention Act
All New York employers must 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. Employers must have each employee sign and date the notice and provide them with a copy.
AI Tools for Recruiting and Employment Decisions (New York City)
New York City prohibits the use of automated employment decision tools and AI-based software to aid in hiring and employment decisions unless the software has been reviewed to ensure specific bias and notice requirements are met.
This requirement only applies to New York City employers.
New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP): Final Rule
When classifying workers as employees or independent contractors, there are a few things to consider, including what legal test to use to make this determination depending on applicable laws, and potential penalties and other liabilities for misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Certain state laws require legal standards that are more stringent than the guidance provided by federal agencies, such as the IRS and Department of Labor, which may need to be applied in conjunction with federal law compliance.
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
Mineral: New York Independent Contractors*
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 (FLSA). 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: New York State Exempt Pay Requirements.
New York DOL: Minimum Wage
New York DOL: Overtime Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Mineral: 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 Optum Financial.
NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection: Commuter Benefits Law
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 (and 56 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.
New York’s Disability Benefits Law (NYDBL) provides partial wage replacement benefits in certain circumstances when an employee is unable to perform their job due to a non-work-related 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:
Harassment & Discrimination
New York State and New York City each have laws prohibiting workplace discrimination and harassment on the basis of specified protected classes. The state and local laws expand the definition of a covered employer, cover additional protected classes, and create additional policy and process measures for employers.
New York Division of Human Rights: A Basic Guide to the Human Rights Law
New York Division of Human Rights: New Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Protections
New York City Commission on Human Rights: NYC Human Rights Law (NYCHRL)
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 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 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 to employees than its federal counterpart. Similar to federal law, the law prohibits employers from paying an employee less than another employee for substantially similar work on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, age, disability, and other protected classes. The state law also prohibits employers from creating policies preventing their employees from discussing wages with one another.
NY Department of Labor: Guidance on Pay Equity
Employers covered by state or local human rights laws may have additional obligations to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, certain religious observances, and nursing mothers. Both state and local laws expand coverage and may impose additional policy, process, recordkeeping, and notice requirements. Additionally, the state and local laws create certain break and lactation room requirements for lactating employees to use while nursing. New York and New York City employers should familiarize themselves with requirements under each applicable law.
New York Department of Labor: Access for Individuals with Disabilities
New York Department of Labor: Rights of Nursing Employees
New York City Commission on Human Rights: NYC Employment Protections
New York City Commission on Human Rights: Lactation Accommodations
New York employers should familiarize themselves with specific compliance issues and certain key documents for separating 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 requirement 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
Mineral: New York Layoffs*
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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.