State and federal wage and hour laws govern how much employees are paid for their time and the conditions surrounding their employment. Wage and hour laws cover such topics as minimum hourly wages, compensation for overtime, sick leave and the number of hours an employee can work. Having a strong grasp on what these laws entail is essential for employers since compliance is required at all times.
Minimum Wage in New York
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. However, the state minimum wage in New York is $9.00 per hour. Therefore, employers are required to pay employees the higher state minimum wage.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Employers may pay tipped workers a “cash wage” that, when combined with the employee’s tips, equal the minimum wage of $9.00 per hour. The cash wage for workers in the hospitality industry is $7.50 per hour. The cash wage for other industries is either $7.65 or $6.80 per hour, depending on the rate of tips received per hour. Employees in the building service industry are not eligible for a tip credit.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: Most New York employers are required to pay workers the minimum hourly wage. Employees who are considered bona fide administrative, executive or professional employees, or who work in outside sales, are exempt from minimum wage requirements as long as they meet certain criteria. Also exempt are taxi drivers, religious workers and certain in-home caregivers. For more information about what types of workers are exempt from receiving the minimum wage, employers should contact the New York Department of Labor.
When Are Raises Required: There are no state or federal laws that require employers to give raises to its employees. An employer may do so at its sole discretion. Generally, raises are based on factors such as strong job performance and the length of a worker’s employment.
Work Hours in New York
There are no limits on the number of hours an employee who is over the age of 18 can work in New York. Certain industries do require 24 hours of rest in each calendar week. These include factories and mercantile businesses, and the types of employees affected include janitors, watchmen and elevator operators.
Paying Overtime: Most hourly and salaried employees are required to receive 1.5 times their normal pay rate for any weekly work hours that exceed 40 under both state and federal law. Overtime for residential employees begins at 44 hours per week. Bona fide executives and professionals are exempt from overtime as long as they receive a minimum weekly salary of $600. Exemptions also exist for other types of employees, including farm workers, outside salespeople, taxi drivers and religious workers.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Certain types of employees are required to receive meal breaks, including factory and mercantile workers and workers whose shifts occur at certain times of day. Meal periods are not considered work time and may be unpaid. Other types of breaks, such as rest breaks or coffee breaks, may be given by employers but are not required. However, if given, such breaks shall count as work time and therefore employees must be paid for that time.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: Unless an employer has a specific policy or agreement in place that states otherwise, time off for vacations, holidays and sick time is not required by law. Such time off is considered a benefit, and employers are entitled to give such benefits as they choose.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: New York is an “employment at will” state, meaning a private employer can hire and fire employees at any time it wishes. If an employment agreement or union contract is in place that contains notice provisions, the employer is bound to adhere to those terms.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: In the event of a plant closing, New York law requires 90 days’ notice to employees if 25 or more employees are terminated during any 30-day period. Employers are also required to provide 90 days’ notice to employees when there is a layoff that affects one-third of the company’s workforce or 250 workers from a single site.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.