With every new year comes new laws that go into effect in New York. Some of these laws will affect businesses, so it’s important to know what laws affect you. Here is a rundown of things you can expect in 2016.
Death and Taxes
We all know that we can rely on death and taxes, but the tax side is changing this year, thanks to the 2014 tax package. In this case, it’s good news for New York businesses. The business income tax actually drops from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent, making it the lowest business taxes in New York since 1968. What’s more, farms and sole proprietors with one or more employees and that make $250,000 net or less can take a 5 percent state exemption instead of 3.75 percent. As for the death part, they still haven’t come up with a solution to that.
Gender Equality and Sexual Harassment
If you’re a small business, the New York law governing sexual harassment in the workplace applies to you too, now. Under the old law, those who were sexually harassed that worked for companies with three or fewer employees could not file sexual harassment charges with the state. Now, under the new law, small businesses are no longer exempt. What’s more, if your employee sues you for sexual harassment, or discrimination in housing or credit, you could end up paying their attorney’s fees.
If you have a pregnant employee, you will need to make accommodations for her under the new law. You also cannot discriminate against someone because of their family status. This should protect workers who are single mothers and dads, or who have gay marriages or other family relationships from discrimination by employers.
Paying Your Employees
Not surprisingly, there are changes to wages this year as well. The minimum wage’s gradual increase continues. Now employers (other than franchised fast food employers with more than 30 stores) must pay their workers a minimum of $9 an hour. No matter what your tipped workers made last year, the wages have been consolidated to $7.50 an hour, not include tips. These laws went into effect December 31st last year, so you need to account for that increase if you haven’t yet.
For franchise owners of fast food restaurants who own more than 30 stores, you’re taking the biggest hit. As of December 31st of last year, by law you must pay your employees $10.50 an hour. You’ll be expecting to pay your employees $15 in New York City by 2018 (by 2021, everywhere else in New York) as the law continues, so this should not be a surprise to you.