Newly Effected 2021 New York Laws

New York laws going into effect in 2021

The past year has presented quite a busy time for lawmakers in New York. The onset of the coronavirus invited a variety of rapid legislative measures governing testing, treatment, vaccinations, aiding citizens suffering financial struggles by preventing evictions, and other areas.

In addition to all these COVID-related measures, there are still other laws passed over the last year or more that have already gone into effect this year or will go into effect later in 2021. Laws surrounding working conditions, health and medication, and recreational activities have been passed and will begin affecting residents in New York this year.

Let’s learn the specifics of some of the main legislation passed.

New State Minimum Wage

New York’s new minimum wage law passed at the very end of the year, on December 21st, and went into effect on January 1st. The new law will see the minimum hourly wage increased from $11.80 to $12.50 upstate, while Westchester County and Long Island will both increase their minimums from $13 to $14 per hour.

There has been opposition to this increase from business owners due to the economic hardships caused by COVID-19, but the governor’s office insists that the state’s economic recovery is not likely to be affected by this scheduled increase.

It represents one step toward boosting the entire state’s minimum wage to $15, the current minimum in New York City. This is expected to be achieved through more incremental raises over the next few years.

Paid Family Leave

Paid leave is essential to any employee’s welfare and health, and 2021 will see New York’s Paid Family Leave Law enter the final year of its four-year implementation plan. The Paid Family Leave Law makes it possible for New York workers to go on paid leave to relieve family pressures, care for loved ones with illnesses, or bond with a new child.

For 2021, the duration will increase, extending it by an additional two weeks (from 10 weeks to 12 weeks). Every qualified employee will be eligible to receive 67% of their weekly wages while on leave, capped at the state average weekly wage ($971.61), in 2021. That represents an increase from 60% in the previous year.

Sick Leave

New York’s Paid Sick Leave Law was passed in April of last year. Although employees started accruing sick leave hours in September, those hours only became eligible to use on January 1st of this year.

This law requires that employers with over 100 employees provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave; employers with 5–99 employees provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave; and that employers with 4 or fewer employees provide 40 hours of sick leave if the business’s net income is under $1 million, or 40 hours of paid sick leave if net income is over $1 million.

Capped Insulin Law

This year will also see a capped price of insulin. That means the amount New Yorkers pay out-of-pocket for insulin cannot go beyond $100 for the product’s supply covering 30 days. This new law protects all patients with health insurance in need of insulin. 

The bill was passed into law as part of the 2020 New York State Budget. A provision in this law places restrictions on cost-sharing for the supply of the products for people with state-regulated, commercial insurance. This measure also gains support from the American Diabetes Association.

The cost of insulin skyrocketed over the previous years, with prices doubling in the early 2000’s, then doubling again between 2012 and 2018. But the 2018 death of a young man who couldn’t afford the $1300 cost of his monthly insulin shocked many states into reforming their laws to protect patients from unaffordable prices and dangerous attempts to ration insulin.

New York joins seven other states putting a limit on insulin expenses this year.

Brianna’s Law

Brianna’s Law was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 6th, 2019, and requires all power boaters to complete a boating safety course. This law will take effect this year to improve boating safety in New York. As its name suggests, this law was championed by the parents of Brianna Lieneck, who tragically died as a result of a boating accident in 2005 on Long Island. By 2025, every boat owner in New York state will be required to have passed an educational boating safety course.

New York’s lawmakers have worked hard to put laws in place to protect this state’s citizens, and Napoli Shkolnik’s lawyers are here to ensure your rights are protected and wrongs are corrected. Contact us today for help with cases involving workers’ compensation or other legally mandated leave compensation, pharmaceutical litigation, personal injuries, or one of our other legal specialties. We offer a free case evaluation and do not charge any upfront legal fees.