Starting on January 01, 2018, employees in New York will be eligible for 8 weeks of Paid Family Leave ("PFL"). Employees will be eligible for payments equal to 50% of their average weekly wage or 50% of the average NY weekly wage, which ever is smaller. The average weekly wage in New York is $1305.92. Paid family leave benefits for employees making weekly wages over this amount are capped at $652.96.
Sexual harassment lawsuits may cost New York employers a lot of money. They may also act to tarnish a company's brand. Therefore, it is critical for employers to take steps to prevent such lawsuits from occurring. In some cases, it may be as easy as updating corporate policy related to sexual harassment in the workplace. All companies should have policies that are clear and that are in writing.
Business owners in New York might be interested in learning that the Obama-era wage-and-hour rule that would have increased the salary threshold for overtime eligibility to $47,000 per year was blocked by a federal court. A judge in Texas stated that the salary threshold was simply too high and would result in many managers being eligible for overtime pay.
New York employers face the additional burden of complying with New York State's wage and hour laws. Like the Fair Labor Standards Act, the New York State Labor Law sanctions employers for not paying time and a half for all hours worked over 40 hours in a week and awards liquidated damages in many circumstances. Both also award attorneys fees to the employee if the employee's claim succeeds. Liquidated damages are typically the same amount as the unpaid wage, in effect doubling the amount due as damages. But the New York Labor Law collects more than the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Technology frees many people from their desks. This mobility, however, can complicate issues about overtime for nonexempt employees. New York employers should make sure that their overtime policies specifically address work done after hours by email, text or telephone conversation. A company should describe whether the activity is permitted, and, if so, how an employee should send a request for overtime pay.