New Yorkers who were celebrating the new year by having a good time with friends and family might have had other reasons to celebrate. The dawn of 2019 not only marks the turning of the calendar from one year to another, but it also put into effect new employment laws that are designed to enhance the benefits and employee rights of workers in the state. While the laws must now be followed by employers, it is always important for workers to remember that some employers might try to circumvent these laws or use threats – overt and implied – to prevent their employees from exercising those rights. If that happens, having legal help is key to get the benefits workers are entitled to.
Paid family leave has always been a concern for New Yorkers. The ability to care for a sick relative or to have a break from work and experience bonding with a new child frequently clashed with the need to get back to work. Now, however, there was an increase in paid family leave to 10 weeks in 2019. In subsequent years, it will increase even further. While they are off, their replacement wages will increase from half of what they were earning to 55 percent.
The state has also implemented a rise in the minimum wage. For employers who have 11 or more employees, it is now $15 hourly pay in New York City. For 10 employees or fewer, it is $13.50. In Long Island and Westchester, it is $12 per hour. And for the rest of the state, it is $11.10. Fast food employees will get $12.75.
Although these new laws are designed to improve pay and conditions for employees, some employers could resist this by taking certain steps that violate the law. Workers should not fear their jobs will be lost if they use paid family leave or ask that they are paid what the law says they should be paid. If this happens, the law gives them protection for retaliation and shields them from a denial of benefits. For workers who are confronted with a violation of employee rights, having legal assistance is key to consider a lawsuit. A firm that specializes in employment law for employees will understand the new laws and can assist with a case.