The New Year brings New York State a higher minimum wage, which is now $10.40 an hour. Meanwhile the minimum wage for fast food workers is now $11.75 outside of New York City.
Both Upstate and New York City are following different schedules for when the minimum wage will increase. For Upstate, the wage will peak at $12.50 as of Dec. 31, 2020 and is supposed to increase to $15 after that based annual economic studies by the state Division of Budget.
The state paid family leave program officially began on Monday. Broadly, New Yorkers are eligible for paid leave benefits to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, to take care of an ailing family member, or if they are left in a lurch because a spouse, child or parent is called away to active military duty.
In 2018, New Yorkers can take up to eight weeks off at 50 percent of their average weekly wage. The length and pay will ramp up over time to 55 percent for 10 weeks in 2019, 60 percent for 10 weeks in 2020 and finally 67 percent in 2021. The program is employee-funded, with a percentage of the average weekly wage taken out of employee paychecks.
There’s also changes to state tax policy that are separate and apart from the new federal tax laws. The state changes include an increased child care tax credit for those earning between $50,000 and $150,000 annually. Also, unionized workers will be allowed to deduct their union dues from state taxes. The union dues deduction is disappearing from the federal tax code under the reform law signed in December.
A constitutional amendment approved by the voters now allows judges to reduce or strip the pension of public officials convicted of a felony related to their official duties. That includes any elected official, state official appointed by the governor, judge and certain employees involved in policy making.