Schwartz EttingerEvery year New York State’s Labor and Employment laws change with the expansion of employee benefits and new laws and regulations which are protective of employee’s rights. Employers must be aware of these changes to ensure their compliance with the laws and make sure that their employees receive the rights and benefits that the perpetually changing laws require. Some examples of changes for 2021 that you should be aware of include the following:


Effective December 31, 2020, New York State’s minimum wage has increased once again, and vary based on the location of your business. The new minimum wages are as follows:

  • New York City = $15.00 per hour
  • Long Island & Westchester = $14.00 per hour
  • Rest of New York State = $12.50 per hour


For 2021, the paid leave benefits to which employees are entitled are as follows:

  • Employees can receive 67% of their wages, up to $971.61 per week; and
  • The employee can take leave for up to 12 weeks.


Employees that are subject to a mandatory order of quarantine or isolation do NOT need to be tested before returning to work after their period of quarantine has expired. But if an employee does get tested, and tests positive, they cannot return to work. If an employee is or remains out of work as a result of a positive test, they are under an Order of Quarantine and are entitled to Paid Sick Leave for this entire period, even if they previously received Paid Sick Leave.

  • If an employer mandates that an employee remains out of work based upon exposure to Covid-19, but that employee is not subject to an Order of Quarantine, the employer must pay the employee their full wages for the period that they are requested to remain out of work. Notably, the wage will be paid directly by the employer, as Paid Leave insurance will not cover this employee.
  • If an employee is requested to remain out of work based upon exposure to Covid-19, the employer can mandate that the employee work from home. If the employee refuses, the employer is not obligated to pay them.


In 2021, the salary threshold over which an employee must be in order to qualify as “exempt” and not be entitled to hourly wages and overtime is as follows, which is dependent on the location of your business:

  • New York City = $1,125.00 per week / $58,500 annually
  • Long Island & Westchester = $1,050.00 per week / $54,600 annually
  • Rest of New York State = $937.50 per week / $48,750 annually


This new law requires that all employers provide their employees with 5 paid days off per calendar year, in the form of sick leave. These days are accrued per hour of work over the course of the year.

If you would like more information about these new employment laws, as well as other information which may be relevant to you and your business, please see our full Employment Law Update on our website at: and other business-related blog posts.

If you need assistance navigating these new laws to ensure compliance, we are happy to assist. Please reach out to Jeff Ettenger at or 631-777-2401 x22.