Recent Developments in Greater Tri-State Area State Employment Laws

The Greater Northeast Tri-State Area has seen a number of major initiatives in state employment laws. Common themes revolve around increasing the minimum wage and combatting sexual harassment in the workplace. Here is a rundown of recent developments in Tri-State employment laws.

New York

Many employment reform activists look to New York to lead the way for employment legislation. An increase in minimum wage and salaries began early in 2018 and continues into 2020. The state minimum wage already exceeds the national minimum wage average, and should reach $15/hour statewide by 2021.

Paid leave updates include an additional three weeks of family leave (now up to 10 weeks available), as well as safe leave for those enduring sexual harassment, abuse or stalking in themselves or in their family. Additional counties and cities in New York are choosing to add paid leave amendments to the existing state paid leave requirements.

Additionally, a number of initiatives to protect human rights in the workplace have been, or are being, introduced this year (2019). These include anti-discrimination laws that protect people of all sexual orientations and safeguards decisionmaking regarding their sexual health.

For nursing mothers, employers are required to provide lactation rooms to allow new mothers to feel more comfortable returning to work after giving birth.

In response to the #metoo movement, New York employers are strongly advised to update their sexual harassment policies and training. The state outlawed mandatory arbitration requirements by employers, wherein employers could effectively silence sexual harassment victims and force them to participate in in-house resolution. Now, victims are able to go directly to law enforcement or advocacy groups.

For more questions about how new employment laws in New York may affect your workforce, contact an expert at The Goodkind Group today.

New Jersey

New Jersey also seeks to increase minimum wage statewide to $15/hour by 2024. The next benchmark, $11/hour, is scheduled to go into effect on the first day of next year (2020). Such changes, along with the Pay Equity Law (wherein all employees doing the same job must be paid the same wage), seek to shrink the livable wage gap among New Jersey employees.

As of this year, New Jersey employees are entitled to 40 hours of sick leave each year, which they can save and apply to the following year.

Among the more controversial developments in New Jersey employment laws pertains to the use of medical marijuana. In a recent court case, an employer was condemned for unfairly terminating an employee on the basis of marijuana use to treat a disability. The case has provoked debate among state legislators who may be looking to formally protect the rights of employees taking marijuana for medical reasons.

For more questions about how new employment laws in New Jersey may affect your workforce, contact an expert at The Goodkind Group today.


Not too much has changed with Pennsylvania employment laws this year. Additions were made last year on child labor laws in the state that already allows minors 14 years old and up to secure employment with a workers permit. Now, for example, minor workers under 16 years old may no longer work before 6:00 am. Minors are limited in their work hours during the school year to 28 hours/week (16- and 17-year-olds) and 18 hours/week (14- and 15-year-olds).

Currently, Pennsylvania maintains the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. There are no serious initiatives at this time to raise the minimum wage above the federal minimum wage.

If you have more questions concerning new employment laws in Pennsylvania and how they may affect your workforce, contact an expert at The Goodkind Group today.


As of October 1, 2019, Connecticut’s minimum wage increased to $11/hour. Like New York and New Jersey, the state intends to increase the minimum wage steadily until it reaches $15/hour. Connecticut is on schedule to deliver the $15/hour minimum wage by the summer of 2023.

Like most of the Tri-State area, the state is requiring employers to update sexual harassment policies and administer sexual harassment training to managers and the entire workforce (if that workforce includes three or more employees). These requirements have been outlined in this year’s “Time’s Up Act.”

The state’s anti-discrimination laws make it easier for employees to seek legal restitution after they’ve been discriminated against. This includes the availability of punitive damages and compensation for legal fees required to bring a discrimination case to local courts.

For more information about how new employment laws in Connecticut may affect your workforce, contact an expert at The Goodkind Group today.

Recruiting and maintaining a healthy, loyal workforce requires that employers take proactive steps to meet state legal guidelines, as well as listen carefully to the concerns of their staff members. For more information about how The Goodkind Group can help your company remain compliant with developing state employment laws, contact a consultant today at (212) 378-0700 or visit our website.