What Are New York State Labor Laws?

By Grace Ferguson

Labor laws protecting employees in New York include minimum wages, frequency of payment, overtime, benefit days and workers' compensation.

New York's labor laws govern minimum wage, overtime, time off from work, wage payments, breaks and workers' compensation policies. Employees may report an employer's violation of the labor laws by contacting the New York State Department of Labor.

Minimum Wage

All nonexempt employees in New York must receive at least the state minimum wage of $8.75 per hour, as of date of publication.

Salaried employees who are exempt from New York's minimum wage and overtime laws--including executive, administrative and professional employees--must receive no less than $600 per week, as of date of publication.

Overtime

Employers must pay work hours over 40 in a workweek at 1 1/2 times the employee's regular pay rate. Employees who are exempt from New York's overtime laws do not have to be paid overtime. If a salaried employee is not exempt, she must receive overtime pay for hours over 40.

Benefit Days

An employer does not have to provide vacation, sick or personal time or holidays. Employers that choose give to such fringe benefits have free reign on how to create the policy. The employer must provide the benefits as agreed upon.

Paycheck Policies

In general, manual laborers in New York must be paid at least weekly. A large employer may pay manual workers semimonthly upon obtaining approval from the state labor department. Clerical and most other workers must be paid at least semimonthly. Commissions must be paid according to the terms of the agreement, but no less than monthly. Deductions from wages can be made if:

  • They are legally required
  • The employee gives her written consent
  • They benefit the employee, such as for health insurance and retirement

Meal Breaks and Rest Day

An employee who works over six hours starting prior to 11 a.m., up until 2 p.m. must receive a duty-free meal break of at least 30 minutes between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Employers do not have to give rest periods or coffee breaks, but must pay for short breaks if they choose to provide them.

Employers in certain industries--such as hotel, restaurant, factory and retail establishments--must give employees at least 24 straight hours of rest in any workweek.

Compensatory Time

Employers cannot require that an employee takes comp time--which is paid time off from work in lieu of overtime wages. Nonexempt employees, whether hourly or salaried, must receive actual overtime wages if they work over 40 hours for the week. Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime, and those who earn over $900 per week, at the time of publication, can be granted comp time.

Workers' Compensation

In New York, employees who become sick or injured because of a work-related matter may qualify for workers' compensation. With few exceptions, such as businesses with no employees, all employers in New York must carry workers' compensation insurance. Only the employer pays the cost of the insurance--the employee cannot be required to make contributions. Workers' compensation claims are approved if the employer and insurance company agree that the injury is job-related.

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