The 2019 Legislative Session wrapped up in Albany at the end of June with a flurry of activity and hundreds of bills passing before lawmakers adjourned for the summer and headed home to their district offices. Below is an overview report from The Manufacturers Alliance of New York of some of the new measures that state legislators passed this session that may have an impact on your company and its operations.
Protections for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming employees in New York have been given a boost. Significant changes to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) will expand the scope of prohibited discriminatory conduct. Additionally, New York State has enacted the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which went into effect on February 25, 2019.
The New York State Legislature gaveled in for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session on January 9, 2019, with Democrats in control of all three chambers of New York State government for the first time since the 2008-2009 session. As expected, the Democrats are flexing their muscles and progressive legislation traditionally stalled in a Republican-controlled Senate has been given new life. For example, two long-stalled progressive pieces of legislation, Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and the Child Victims Act (discussed below), were quickly passed by the Legislature.
An increase in the minimum wage, intended to eventually bring New York’s state minimum wage to $15 an hour, went into effect on December 31. As a result of a measure signed into law in April 2016, the state will continue to see minimum wage increases implemented on a regional basis. The state’s current basic minimum wage is $10.40 an hour.