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Employer updates for the New Year

At the turning of the calendar year, several laws affecting employers’ obligations changed, which are very important for those employers – especially small business owners – to be aware of, and comply with. Three such changes for 2015 include: wage reporting requirements; an increase in New York’s minimum wage; and exemptions from overtime pay for certain employees.

In the final days of 2014, Governor Cuomo signed a bill eliminating the wage notice requirement. Previously, employers were required to notify ­– and receive written acknowledgment from – every employee about their rate of pay, allowances, and pay day, amongst other information. Effective as of the new year, Governor Cuomo’s signature eliminated the Wage Theft Prevention Act’s reporting requirement, so employers need not expend energy and resources on this notification process.

New York also implemented the second stage of a minimum wage increase at the end of 2014. As of December 31, 2014, the minimum wage is $8.75 per hour. A third increase will occur at the end of 2015, raising the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour. The New York Department of Labor has made new posters available at for publication.

The third change affects the salary minimum for the exemption from overtime pay. The “Executive or Administrative Exemption” exempts certain employees (such as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sale employees) from overtime pay. To qualify for the exemption, an employee’s job duties and salary must meet certain requirements (an executive or administrative job title does not suffice). In New York, as of December 31, 2014, the minimum weekly salary for an employee to qualify for the exemption is $656.25; the federal standard is $455.00.

The change in calendar year generally correlates with implementation of new or amended legislation. It is important for business owners to be aware of these changes to avoid potential regulatory compliance issues.