Today (April 4, 2016) California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 3, raising California’s minimum wage to $15 by 2023.  Under that law, minimum wage in the state of California (currently $10.00 per hour) will increase as follows:

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Beginning on January 1, 2023 for large employers, and January 1, 2024 for small employers, the law provides for additional yearly increases to be determined by August 1 of each year.  Of note, the scheduled minimum wage increases can be temporarily suspended by the Governor, based on certain determinations outlined in the law.   In addition to raising the minimum wage, SB 3 extends California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act to providers of in-home supportive services.

Not to be outdone, New York Governor Mario Cuomo (also today) signed an historic budget bill (S06406), raising the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 ($12.50 outside of New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties) for all workers and providing for the nation’s only 12-week paid family leave program.

Under the new law, New York’s state minimum wage (currently $9.00 per hour) will increase as follows:

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In addition, the law requires food service workers receiving tips to be paid a cash wage of at least two-thirds of the applicable minimum wage rate or $7.50, whichever is higher.  Of note, the scheduled minimum wage increases can be temporarily suspended, based on certain determinations outlined in the law.  

Finally, the law amends the state’s workers’ compensation law to include 12 weeks of paid family leave benefits for all employees, in addition to the disability benefits already provided for under New York law.  Family leave is defined as any leave taken by an employee from work “(a) to participate in  providing  care,  including  physical  or psychological  care,  for a family member of the employee made necessary by a serious health condition of the family member; or (b) to bond  with the  employee’s  child  during the first twelve months after the child’s birth, or the first twelve months after the placement of the  child  for adoption  or foster care with the employee; or (c) because of any qualifying exigency as interpreted under the family and medical leave act, 29 U.S.C.S § 2612(a)(1)(e) and 29 C.F.R. S.825.126(a)(1)-(8), arising  out of  the fact that the spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the armed forces of the United States.” 

Beginning on January 1, 2018, the paid family leave benefit will be 8 weeks at 50% of the employee’s average weekly rate, increasing to 10 weeks at 55% of the average weekly rate on January 1, 2019, 10 weeks at 60% of the average weekly rate on January 1, 2020, and finally 12 weeks at 67% of the average weekly rate starting on January 1, 2021.   Notably, employers are not required to fund the family leave benefit; rather, the benefit is funded through payroll deductions.

Employees become eligible for benefits on the 175th day of employment.  Upon return from family leave, an employee is entitled to be restored to the position held by the employee when the leave commenced, or a comparable position with comparable benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment. Employers are required to maintain any existing health benefits during the duration of paid family leave as if the employee continued to work.  An employer may choose to allow an employee to use available vacation or other paid time off during the period of paid family leave, in which case the employer may request reimbursement in accordance with the law.  Paid family leave must be used concurrently with any available FMLA leave.