On April 1, 2016 the New York State Legislature passed legislation that would raise the state minimum wage for all hourly wage workers in accordance with a prescribed schedule. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law on April 4, 2016, making New York one of two states that day—the other being California—to gradually raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour. Governor Cuomo's approval of the bill culminated a coordinated, several-month effort by his Administration, organized labor, and political parties to promote the increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The first increase will take effect on December 31, 2016.

As part of the same package, Governor Cuomo signed into law groundbreaking paid family leave legislation that will cover most New York employees. The law amends the current employee disability benefits law by adding new benefits and job protections for employees who need time off from work to care for family members. This is a significant development in New York, which previously did not have its own state family leave law to supplement the federal Family Medical Leave Act. Click here to read our full analysis in our April 8 client alert.