Expanding Workers' Rights - What it means for New York City’s Low-Income Workers
Summary: In January 2018, two milestone laws to benefit workers went into effect in New York State: an increase in the minimum wage on its way to reaching $15 an hour and the right to job-protected paid family leave for nearly all private sector employees. These measures are just part of a recent wave of progressive legislation that is dramatically expanding workers’ rights in New York City and State. But the next challenge will be raising awareness of the new labor standards among both workers and employers. That’s important because so much of enforcement relies on workers lodging complaints with their bosses or government agencies. It’s a hard step for the most vulnerable low-wage and immigrant workers to take, even if they are aware of the applicable laws, given understandable fears, heightened in the era of the Trump administration.
This report examines public awareness of three of the new labor laws: paid sick time law in New York City, and minimum wage increases and paid family leave at the state level, and offers ideas for informing hard-to-reach workers of their new rights.