ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The new year is just a few weeks away. Many of us take advantage of the clean break, and will kick off 2023 by shaking up our routines. Giving yourself a few weeks to implement a change on Jan. 1 makes it easier to adapt for some. It turns out New York lawmakers agree with this sentiment.
Here are four changes to legislation look out for (and one bonus change) happening in 2023:
1. Social Security payments get a boost
About 70 million Americans can expect to see an increase in their monthly Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for 2023.
Social Security benefits are determined based on how much someone earned during their career. The payouts can range from 75% of your earnings for those with a very low income, to 27% for maximum income earners.
Following a Cost-of-Living- Adjustment, the benefits will increase by 8.7% to match inflation. On average, this will lead to a $140 boost for retired workers.
To view how your personal benefits will change, check your account on the Social Security Administration’s website.
For those still contributing to Social Security via taxes, the rate has not changed from 2022.
2. Minimum wage is going up
As part of New York State’s goals to increase the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, minimum wage will be jumping to $14.20 — up a dollar from $13.20 — for most upstate workers.
Much of the state has already hit $15: New York City made the transition in 2018 and 2019 for all workers, and employees in the fast food industry anywhere in the state passed the threshold in 2021. Long Island and Westchester also hit $15 last year, and will not be seeing any planned increases.
The only exception below the $15 minimum is tipped workers. Home care aids, on the other hand, have a minimum of $17 in New York City, and $15.20 outside the city.
You can check minimum wage for your position on the NY Department of Labor website.
3. New York’s Paid Family Leave Law is expanding
Federally, 1993’s Family and Medical Leave Act gives workers the right to take twelve unpaid workweeks off for a birth or adoption, for a serious health condition, or to care for a seriously ill spouse, child, or parent.
In 2016, New York passed legislation guaranteeing that employees receive a portion of their paycheck when taking this leave. They also expanded coverage of caring for a loved one in the military.
2023 brings siblings into the mix, and allows employees to take paid time off to care for a sibling with a serious health condition. The sibling can live out-of-state, and even overseas. The exact date siblings get covered changes based on employers. Those who work for self-insured employers will start receiving the benefits on January 2023.
4. E-waste recycling is getting cheaper
In New York State, it is illegal to just toss out old electronics in the trash. All consumers — including you — are required to recycle most e-waste in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.
Starting January 1, it just got a whole lot cheaper to recycle old those phones, TVs, computers, and other outdated pieces of tech piling up in your home.
Most manufacturers who make or sell their own tech in New York State will now have to provide and pay for “free and convenient” e-waste recycling for New Yorkers.
The change closes a loophole in the 2010 law introducing the recycling requirements, where manufacturers would pass the buck to the recyclers, collection sites, municipalities, and eventually, the consumers.
5. Bonus: Walmart is going bag-less
While this isn’t a law, it will affect New Yorkers across the state. New York Walmart Stores will stop selling paper bags in 2023. The
New York’s days of “paper or plastic” may have ended in 2020 with the Bag Waste Reduction Law, but most businesses switched to paper only (with a 5 cent fee in most places). Walmart is among the first major retailers to forego bags completely, encouraging shoppers to bring reusable bags instead.
Jan. 18 will be the last day to get a paper bag with your purchase.