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New York Wage and Hour Laws

There are Federal Laws, State Laws, and in some jurisdictions like New York, even City Laws that govern minimum wage, hours of work, child labor, payment of wages and wage supplements, industrial homework, apparel industry registration, registration of professional employer organizations, or farm labor. Depending on the age and type of job, such laws generally govern how much should be paid to the employee for regular hours and overtime, how many hours can be worked, how long an employee can take a break for, and whether an employee is entitled to holiday or sick leave. Federal Wage and Hour laws are generally enforced by the United States Department of Labor and the Fair Labor Standards Act. New York State Wage and Hour laws are generally enforced by the New York State Department of Labor, the Division of Labor Standards and New York Labor Law. Such labor standards are enforced by each individual state and federally to ensure that employees are being paid a fair amount for the time they work and are not being underpaid or overworked.

States can set their own minimum wage, which can be higher or lower than the federally set standard. Where Federal and State law have different minimum wage rates, the higher standard applies. In New York, the current minimum wage is the same as the Federal law at $7.25 per hour and it applies to almost every employee, even if the employee is undocumented or paid off the books. There are certain exemptions to the minimum wage requirement and also particular types of employees who are governed by a different set of requirements, however.

Such exemptions to the minimum wage requirements are as follows: executives and administrators earning greater than $543.75/week, professionals, outside salespeople, taxicab drivers, government employees, part-time babysitters, live-in employees to the sick and elderly whose principal duties do not include housework, ministers and members of religious orders, volunteers or students working in non-profit institutions, students obtaining vocational experience and independent contractors. Service employees are governed by different wage rules, and employees who are in an industry where they are paid at least $2.25 per hour in tips may receive a minimum wage of $5.00 per hour. All employers have at least the duty to display a Minimum Wage poster, and employers who hire minors have separate posters regarding the start and end times for minors that they must display.

Typically, a full work-week is forty hours and any hours worked additionally are entitled to higher pay for the extra time worked. The overtime rate is one and half times the regular rate of pay, but the Federal Laws, namely the Fair Labor Standards Act classify some employees as “exempt” and such employees are not entitled to the standard overtime rate.

For adults over eighteen, there are no limits on how many hours per day an employee can work or how early or late an adult employee may work. For certain types of jobs, however, there are requirements that employees have at least twenty four hours of rest each week. Such jobs include employees who work in factories, mercantile establishments, hotels (except resort/seasonal hotels), restaurants (except small, rural restaurants), as elevator operators, watchmen, janitors or superintendents.

Employees who work a shift greater than six hours starting before 11 AM and continuing until 2 PM must have an uninterrupted lunch period of at least a half hour between the hours of 11 AM and 2 PM. Breaks are not required to be paid unless the employee permits other breaks for up to twenty minutes in which case that time should be paid as work time.

Wage Supplements are vacation or holiday pay, paid sick leave, reimbursement of expenses and other similar items. Fringe Benefits include reimbursement of expenses or tuition, health coverage, and payment for sick time, vacation, personal leave and holidays. Generally under New York State Labor Law, holidays, sick time and or vacation time is considered time not worked and is not required to be paid unless the employer has a policy offering such payment. If a company does offer vacation time and there is no written policy about whether the accrued vacation will be paid if the employee resigns or is terminated, then the employer must pay the accrued vacation time. New York City laws have recently amended this to include some required paid time off for certain employees, but the laws have not gone into full effect yet and will only govern employers with a certain number of employees whose jobs are in New York City.

Violations of such laws, such as being improperly paid for hours worked, not being paid sufficient overtime, having money illegally deducted from paychecks, employers misappropriating tips, or employers failing to adhere to other written labor policies are enforceable and remedies, such as being paid the money owed are available to employees. For more detailed information regarding federal and state laws governing wage and hour laws visit, Attorneys with a focus in Employment and Labor Law, including Wage and Hour laws, can protect your interests and your right. If you would like to get a consultation with one of our New York employment law attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at the Law Office of Borrelli and Associates immediately. We are eager to review your case and give you advice.


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