New Legislation Affecting New Yorkers in 2019

You’re not the only one with a New Year’s resolution. As of January 1st, 2019, the City of New York has passed new legislation on foam, cigarettes, minimum wage, and more. Familiarize yourself with the new laws with our breakdown on 2019 legislation now affecting New Yorkers.

Foam Ban

Foam food containers are so 2018. On January 1st, the City’s Foam Ban went into effect. This means certain expanded polystyrene (EPS) items are banned from sale, distribution, or use in New York City, including foam cups, containers, dish ware, and packing peanuts. Business owners can find more information from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) here, to fully understand the law and get help transitioning to new materials to replace foam products.

Following the announcement of the ban, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “New York City’s ban on styrofoam is long overdue, and New Yorkers are ready to start using recyclable alternatives. There’s no reason to continue allowing this environmentally unfriendly substance to flood our streets, landfills, and waterways.” USP is eager to see the positive effects this ban will have on our community and the larger NYC area. Find more information on green initiatives from NYC agencies, organizations and USP here.

Minimum Wage

NYC employees can look forward to a larger paycheck in 2019. Employees working for companies with more than 10 workers will have their lowest legal pay rate raised $2 to $15 an hour. Employees at smaller companies will get a raise of $1.50 to $13.50 an hour. While the federally mandated rate is $7.25, this new legislation makes New York City a leader in the movement to raise minimum wages across the country.


Trying to quit smoking in 2019? NYC is making it easier! Starting January 1st, pharmacies are no longer allowed to sell tobacco products, including pharmacies located inside big-box stores and supermarkets across all five boroughs. On the new legislation, deputy mayor for health and human services, Herminia Palacio, said “People trust pharmacies to help them stay well. They should be helping smokers quit, not the opposite.” Roughly 500 pharmacies that still sell tobacco products will be affected by the new law.

Changing Tables

Both moms and dads on diaper duty will now have wider access to changing tables across NYC. Previous state law did not require changing tables in public bathrooms, and when announcing the new law, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office stated that changing tables, when available, were disproportionately only available in women’s rooms. New legislation ensures that new and renovated buildings with public bathrooms have changing tables in both men’s and women’s restrooms.

Paid Family Leave

All New Yorkers now get 10 weeks of paid time off to bond with their newborn, adopted or foster child; to care for family members with serious health conditions; or to address issues related to a family member’s military deployment, under the New York State Paid Family Leave act. The law is part of a gradual increase in salaried time off that began in 2018, when workers were eligible for eight weeks of paid family leave. The increases will end in 2021, when New York residents will get 12 weeks of paid family leave.