ATTN Employers: The New Year Brings New Wage and Benefit Entitlements for Employees

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Notwithstanding the impact of the current pandemic on the economy and, in particular, on businesses in New York and New Jersey, previously scheduled annual wage and benefit increases march on.

In the past week, minimum wage rates rose in both New York and New Jersey. In addition, New Jersey employees will see increased maximum benefit levels for unemployment insurance, temporary disability and family leave insurance, and workers’ compensation benefits. For your ease of reference, we set forth the changes below.


New York and New Jersey new minimum wage rates for 2021 are set forth below. Please note that other rates may apply in certain industries or positions, such as for farm workers, fast food employees or tipped employees, and employers are cautioned to check carefully for any exceptions:

New York (as of December 31, 2020)
New York City: $15/hour
Long Island and Westchester: $14/hour
Rest of New York State: $12.50/hour

New Jersey (as of January 1, 2021)
Overall: $12/hour
Small businesses (less than 5 employees) and seasonal workers: $11.10/hour


New Jersey maximum weekly benefits

Each year, New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development recalculates maximum benefits for unemployment insurance, temporary disability and family leave insurance and workers’ compensation based on average weekly wages. The new 2021 rates (listed below) reflect a 2.5 percent increase:

Unemployment insurance: $731/week
Temporary disability and family leave insurance: $903/week
Workers’ compensation: $969/week

In addition, the threshold for qualifying for benefits also has increased. To qualify for New Jersey unemployment, disability or family leave insurance, employees must have earned $220 per week for 20 weeks or at least $11,000 (up from $200 per week or $10,000 in 2020).

New York maximum weekly benefits

Although New York’s maximum weekly benefits are not increasing as of January 1, 2021, eligible employees in New York saw an increase in such benefits in 2020 as follows:

As of September 1, 2020, the paid family leave maximum benefit is $971.61/week
As of July 1, 2020, the workers’ compensation maximum benefit is $966.78/week

New York’s unemployment insurance maximum benefit remains at $504/week and the temporary disability maximum benefit has not increased from $170/week since 1989.

Please e-mail the NFC attorney you work with or call us directly with any questions about these wage and benefit changes or any other employment law needs you may have keeping your business compliant in 2021.


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