First updates of 2021! Start the new year right and brush up on your employment law news . . .

We made it to 2021 . . . yay? Since our last update, a LOT has changed. Below we’ll talk about employee sick leave for COVID, changes to New York leave laws, and why it suddenly just got more expensive to be an employer in New Jersey.

Yes, you can still offer employees paid FFCRA leave

As you’ve probably heard, the FFCRA didn’t survive 2020. But paid FFCRA leave is still alive and kicking! Congress was gracious enough to extend paid FFCRA leave through March 2021, albeit on a purely voluntary basis. So, you don’t have to provide paid leave, but you can if you want. Why would you? Besides perhaps being the right thing to do, you still get that nice little tax credit associated with FFCRA leave (as long as it relates to leave used prior to April 1, 2021).

Fine print: because the FFCRA was extended and not renewed, employees do not receive a new bucket of leave in 2021. For example, if someone used the full 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave in 2020, sorry, no more. But wait, there’s more! Those employees may not be out of luck/leave because many states – like New Jersey and New York – have their own versions of the FFCRA which are still in full force. Everything make sense now? We thought so. If not, that’s what we’re here for – give us a ring.

The (new) New York paid sick leave – now in effect!

In case you haven’t heard, the Empire State’s new paid sick leave law went into effect on January 1, 2021. A summary of the rule may be found here. If you have employees in New York, and you haven’t checked to see if your PTO is compliant with the new law, you should.

New Jersey minimum wage increase

New year, new minimum wages. That’s the saying, right? As has been the case for a few years now, the start of the year triggers increases to the minimum wage and certain salary requirements for exempt positions. Effective January 1, 2021, the minimum wage in New Jersey has been raised to $12.00/hour. However, employers with less than 6 employees (“small employers”) are subject to a $11.10 minimum and tipped workers are subject to a $4.13 (so long as wage plus tips at least equals minimum wage).

The beginning of the year is a great time to reassess employees’ wages and make sure that you’re maintaining compliance with the wage and hour rules. What a fun way to start the new year!

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for our next update on topics like mandating the COVID vaccine for employees, firing employees for off-work political activities, and some other fun stuff.

A happy, healthy, and safe new year to all.

Damien + Brian


Established in 2019, New York City-based Weinstein + Klein is a boutique law firm focused on labor and employment law, business matters, and litigation. Weinstein + Klein works with businesses, individuals, and entrepreneurs to protect their legal interests. In addition to advising clients on employment matters and working with businesses to minimize their risk of litigation, Weinstein + Klein advises small businesses and start-ups on various business law matters. For more information about Weinstein + Klein, please visit

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