Now that the New Year has arrived, employers in New Jersey and New York should be aware of several new state employment laws that will take effect in 2014.
Minimum Wage Increase (Effective January 1, 2014)
In November, New Jersey voters approved a ballot question amending the State Constitution and raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25, effective January 1, 2014. With the amendment, New Jersey will pull into a four-way tie for the fourth highest minimum wage rate in the country. The amendment does not increase the minimum wage for tipped employees in New Jersey ($2.13).
The amendment also mandates annual increases to the minimum wage to keep pace with the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W), as calculated by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. If the federal minimum wage increases, the state rate will increase to match the federal rate.
Gender Inequality Notice Requirement (Effective January 6, 2014)
Beginning on January 6, 2014, New Jersey employers with 50 or more employees must conspicuously post a gender equality notice in a location accessible to all employees in each of the employer’s New Jersey workplaces. Employees hired prior to January 6, 2014, must be given a written copy of the notice no later than February 5, 2014. Employees hired after January 6, must be provided with copies of the notice upon hire. Beginning in 2014, employers must provide copies annually. Employers are also required to obtain signed receipt forms from each employee confirming that they have received the notice, and have read and understood its terms. A copy of the notice was recently posted by the New Jersey Department of Labor.
Minimum Wage Increase (Effective December 31, 2013)
On December 31, 2013, New York’s minimum wage will increase from $7.25 per hour to $8.00 per hour. The change is part of a three-phase increase to the minimum wage that was passed in March 2013. On December 31, 2014, the minimum wage will increase to $8.75 per hour, and on December 31, 2015, it will increase to $9.00 per hour. The law also impacts tipped employees in a variety of ways, including: increased maximum tip credits; increased rates for overtime, spread-of-hours pay, and call-in pay; and an increased threshold amount of tips that employees must receive before an employer can claim a tip credit.
New York City Earned Sick Time Act (Effective April 1, 2014)
In May 2013, the New York City Council passed the Earned Sick Time Act. Effective April 1, 2014, employers in New York City with at least 20 employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees who work more than 80 hours per year. Employers with less than 20 employees must provide at least 40 hours of unpaid, job-protected leave beginning in April. Sick leave may be used for an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or to care for an eligible family member. The Act does not apply to government employees or employees subject to a valid collective bargaining agreement. The Act also includes notice and recordkeeping requirements, penalty provisions, and a prohibition on retaliation for leave requests. In October 2015, coverage under the Act will expand to businesses with 15 or more employees.