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New York Labor Law and Minimum Wages in 2017

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Labor laws and the rights of individuals working in New York City are outlined in various laws at both state and city levels. New York State and New York City governments each have roles in defining rules that have an impact on employees. These rules include requirements related to how much a worker should earn and what benefits they are entitled to receive, including paid sick leave and overtime.

Minimum Wage

As part of the 2016-17 State Budget, Governor Cuomo signed legislation enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan that will lift the earnings of more than 2.1 million New Yorkers, in all industries across the state. The minimum wage may vary depending on the sector or industry. Regulations known as ‘Wage Orders’ establish industry-specific rates that differ from the general minimum wage rate.

General Minimum Wage Rate Schedule
Location 12/31/16 12/31/17 12/31/18 12/31/19 12/31/20 2021*
NYC – Big Employers (of 11 or more) $11.00 $13.00 $15.00
NYC – Small Employers (10 or less) $10.50 $12.00 $13.50 $15.00
Long Island & Westchester $10.00 $11.00 $12.00 $13.00 $14.00 $15.00
Remainder of New York State Workers $9.70 $10.40 $11.10 $11.80 $12.50 *

* Annual increases for the rest of the state will continue until the rate reaches $15 minimum wage (and $10 tipped wage). Starting 2021, the annual increases will be published by the Commissioner of Labor on or before October 1. They will be based on percentage increases determined by the Director of the Division of Budget, based on economic indices, including the Consumer Price Index.

*Tipped food service workers rate is unchanged at $7.50 until 12/31/2017.


Vacation and Sick Leave

Under the New York state law, employers are not required to pay workers for any time that is not actually worked or required. As a result, employees do not have a right to paid holidays, personal leave, sick days or vacation. It is up to each employer to establish a policy related to paid and unpaid vacation and sick leave, should they decide to do so. If there is a policy related to vacation and/or sick leave, the employer is free to attach any conditions.

In New York City, employers with five or more employees must provide paid sick leave to anyone working for more than 80 hours per calendar year. Employers with less than five employees must provide their workers with unpaid sick leave. Sick leave must also be given to domestic workers who have been employed for at least a year and worked for more than 80 hours in a calendar year. Some workers are not covered by this requirement, including employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement. More information about New York City’s sick leave requirements are available from NYC Consumer Affairs.

Work Hours and Over-time

There are no limits on the number of hours a person can work. Similarly, there are no limits on the number of hours someone can work in any given day except for children under the age of 18. There are also no limits on how early or how late an adult employee can work. Employees working in some occupations and industries must receive at least 24 hours rest in each week. This includes people working in factories, hotels (except resorts or seasonal hotels), restaurants (except small rural restaurants) and mercantile establishments. The requirement for 24 hour rest also applies to elevator operators, watchpersons, janitors and superintendents.

Overtime requirements in New York are based on hours your work in any given payroll week, although it is not mandatory simply because you are working outside of your eight hour work day or during the weekend. Live-in or residential employees are required to receive overtime if they work over 44 hours in a payroll week. Non-residential workers are required to receive overtime when they work over 40 hours in a payroll week. Covered workers must be paid at least one and one-half times their regular hour rate of pay when working outside of these weekly hours. Additional information about overtime pay is available from the U.S. Department of Labor.


More information about labor standards and employment laws in New York is available from the New York State Department, which also has helpful answers to frequently asked questions.

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Overview of the New York City Office Market – Expected Trends for 2017

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As one of the main gateway markets in the USA, the New York office market is closely connected to the performance of the US economy. During 2016, private sector job creation levels and stable employment growth underpinned the strong demand for office space, along with increased consumer confidence and a growing GDP.

Overall, the New York office market delivered a solid performance in 2016, with some indicators not only showing improvement over 2015, but also over the city’s 8-year average. This was especially true of leasing activity levels, net absorption rates, and average asking rates, according to statistics from CBRE.

New York City Office Market by Area

The Manhattan market showed notable levels of leasing activity, and more than 33 million square feet of office space were transacted in the borough during 2016. Availability rates across the borough were also up and currently stand at 10.3 per cent. Average asking rents experienced a 2.4 per cent year-on-year increase and currently average $73.24 / sq ft / year.

Rental values are clearly on their path to recovery and only a few cents below peak pre-recession levels. Rental price increases are evident for all office property types, but particularly for Class C offices, which are now priced at a record average of $57.33 / sq ft. Key occupiers include firms involved in finance, insurance, and real estate, which account for 31 per cent of all office leases in Manhattan, followed by the TAMI sector and to a lesser extent by professional services, the public sector, and consumer goods.

Manhattan sub-markets:

– In downtown Manhattan, overall asking rents currently average $59.01 and $60.25 for Class A offices. The World Trade Center has the highest rental values ($65.39), whereas the lowest are in City Hall (under $50)

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Manhattan: Commercial Property, Office Space Trends and Statistics for 2015

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After suffering the negative impact of the financial recession, the city of New York seems to be back on track with regards to economic and business growth. In particular, the borough of Manhattan is considered the economic engine of this US city. For decades, Manhattan has enjoyed a reputation for being one of the world’s top business locations thanks to positive factors like the relatively low cost of doing business and a highly skilled and educated workforce. All these factors impact the commercial real estate market. To learn more, read through our overview of the local commercial property market and through our insights into the office sub-sector.

An overview of the Manhattan commercial property market

Even during the worst of the recession, the real estate market in Manhattan experienced below-average decline rates. Low unemployment rates have helped keep the local commercial property market healthy, and in fact, 2014 was consider a banner year for the real estate market in Manhattan. A New York Times article affirmed that the recent market rebound has brought transaction levels very close to pre-2008 rates, mainly thanks to the strong performance of the retail and office sub-sectors.

Since 2012, nearly 60,000 new jobs have been created in and around Manhattan, with the vast majority of them being office based. This fact has been consistently boosting demand for suitable office space, generating opportunities for increased activity levels and for the creation of new office developments. In addition, in July 2014 real estate analysts predicted that within the following two years, more than 1.55 million square feet of brand new retail space would be delivered within the boundaries of Manhattan, mainly around Fulton Street and South Street Seaport.

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