I can’t believe it’s been such a long time since we’ve connected! [Barf! That sounds like one of those mind-numbing “let me brag about how awesome our year has been” letters people you never talk to send with their holiday cards.] For those readers new to Frankly Speaking, the commentary in [brackets] is channeled from my snarky alter ego. [Snarky? That’s rude.] Anyway, this is my end-of-year update on some significant changes to employment laws and regulations for 2023. [Like I said, mind-numbing. Wake me when it’s over.]
Several states’ minimum wage and minimum salary rates are increasing in 2023.
In October 2022, the NY State Division of the Budget [Who makes up these names?!] issued a report recommending that certain minimum wage rates for employees in Upstate NY – areas outside NY City, Long Island, and Westchester County – be increased, as described below. Gov. Hochul accepted the recommendation on December 21, 2022, [Seriously? Why not wait until December 30th so employers have less time to change their payrolls!] so employers in the Upstate region must prepare to pay the increased minimum hourly wage and minimum salary rates beginning December 31, 2022.
The proposed Upstate minimum hourly wage rate is set at $14.20 per hour, with the minimum salary increasing to $1,064.25 per week ($55,341.00 annualized). However, employers in NY City, Long Island, and Westchester County will not see a change to the current $15.00 per hour minimum wage or the minimum salary of $1,125.00 per week ($58,500.00 annualized).
Similarly, the proposed Upstate minimum hourly rate in the hospitality industry for food service workers – employees primarily engaged in serving food or beverages and regularly receive tips, including wait staff, bartenders, captains, and bussers (not including delivery workers) – will increase to $9.45 cash and $4.75 tip. Food service workers in NY City, Long Island, and Westchester County will not see a change to the current hourly minimum rates of $10.00 cash and $5.00 tip. Further, the proposed Upstate minimum hourly rate for service workers – employees who are not food service or fast-food workers but who customarily receive tips – is set to increase to $11.85 cash and $2.35 tip. Also, service workers in NY City, Long Island, and Westchester County will not see a change to the current hourly minimum rates of $12.50 cash and $2.50 tip. Lastly, the minimum wage rate for employees of covered fast-food restaurants will remain at $15.00 per hour. [Do you really think anyone understood any of that?]
In addition to NY State, more than 20 other states plan to increase their minimum hourly wage rates on January 1, 2023 (except as noted): Alaska $10.85; Arizona $13.85; California $15.50; Colorado $13.65 (June 1, 2023); Connecticut $15.00 (June 1, 2023); Delaware $11.75; Florida $12.00 (September 30, 2023); Illinois $13.00; Maine $13.80; Maryland $13.25; Massachusetts $15.00; Michigan $10.10; Minnesota $10.59; Missouri, $12.00; Montana $9.95; Nebraska $10.50; Nevada $12.00 (July 1, 2023); New Jersey $14.13; New Mexico $12.00; Ohio $10.10; Rhode Island $13.00; South Dakota $10.80; Vermont $13.18; Virginia $12.00; Washington (state) $15.74. Also, several states, such as California and Maine, allow local governments to set minimum hourly wage rates which exceed the state’s threshold.
Employment Law Poster Requirements
Effective December 16, 2022, all NY employers must provide their employees with electronic access to all required NY State and federal workplace employment law postings. Signed into law by Gov. Hochul last week, A7595/S6805 requires the electronic posters to be available to employees through the employer’s website or by email. In addition to maintain the required workplace postings, employers must notify all employees that the required posters are also available electronically. [Are you making this up? You always seem to be the only person who knows about this stuff.]
The law does not consider that, while many businesses have websites, and many employees have email addresses, that is not the case for all businesses or all employees. Further, the law does not provide any direction for employers without a website on how to make the electronic posters available. Neither does it suggest how to provide the mandated notice to employees that do not have, or refuse to provide, an email address. [Why would they? It’s not the state’s problem to solve.] However, the law does indicate that employers who fail to comply with this mandate may be subject to fines.
Most states, and the federal government, have made recent updates to their required workplace posters. So, regardless of whether you have employees in NY State, it’s important that you meet both state and federal posting requirements. My team is contacting HRCE clients to remind them that 2023 state and federal all-in-one posters – both printed and electronic – are now available. Also, current and future clients can contact us at HRAnswers@hrcexperts.com, or 585-565-3900, with any questions or to place an order. [Tell them the snarky alter-ego sent you!]
State Paid Family Leave
Effective January 1, 2023, [There’s more? Is this ever going to end?] the following changes will take effect to NY State Paid Family Leave (“PFL”):
- Eligible employees will now be permitted to take PFL leave to care for siblings (including biological, adopted, step-, and half-siblings) with serious health conditions.
- Eligible employees will continue to receive 67% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap of 67% of the 2023 Statewide Average Weekly Wage (“AWW”). For 2023 the AWW increased to $1,688.19, resulting in a maximum weekly benefit increase of $62.72, to $1,131.08.
- Employee contributions in 2023 are set at 0.455% of the employee’s gross wages per pay period, up to a maximum annual contribution of $399.43 (a decrease of $24.28 from 2022).
Employers with employees in CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, NJ, OR, RI, or WA may also have to comply with paid family leave law obligations. Contact the HR Compliance Experts team if you have questions about whether your employees are covered by a state’s paid family leave laws.
Expressing Breast Milk in the Workplace
On December 9, 2022, NY Gov. Hochul signed a bill that amends NY State Labor Law, Section 206-c. [Her pen has been working overtime this month!] Although not effective until June 7, 2023, [Don’t you want to save something for another article?] this amendment requires employers to provide reasonable unpaid break time or allow for the use of paid break or mealtime each time an employee has a reasonable need to express breast milk. This obligation continues for up to three (3) years following childbirth. Employers are also obligated to provide a designated location for expressing breast milk. The designated location:
- Must contain a chair, a working surface, lighting, and an electrical outlet;
- Must be in close proximity to the employee’s work area, near clean running water, shielded from view, and free from intrusion by other people;
- Cannot be in a restroom or toilet stall.
Although the designated location is not required to be used solely for expressing breast milk, the location must be available whenever an employee needs to express breast milk. Further, the employer must notify all employees that the designated location cannot be used for any other purpose while it is occupied by an employee expressing breast milk.
Lastly, [do you promise?] if refrigeration is available in the workplace, employers must allow employees to refrigerate expressed breast milk.
Federal labor law also provides nursing mothers with some minimal rights to express breast milk in the workplace. However, like NY, 29 additional states (AR, CA, CO, CT, GA, HI, IL, IN, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MN, MT, NE, NJ, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, AND WA) and the District of Columbia have laws regarding the expression of breast milk in the workplace. Feel free to contact the HR Compliance Experts team if you have questions about this topic.
On behalf of Amanda, Irene, and Chrissy [and me!], I wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year!
If you have questions about compliance with state and federal regulations and mandates, or want information on any of the services HR Compliance Experts offers, call us at 585-565-3900 or email HRAnswers@hrcexperts.com.
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute a legal opinion, and is not legal advice. The facts of each situation should be considered and analyzed individually. Therefore, you should always consult with competent employment counsel regarding any issues discussed here.
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