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New York State Labor Laws



The State of New York’s wage and hour law differs from Federal labor laws in a few key ways.

New York has certain labor laws in place to protect the rights of employees above and beyond the general U.S. standards as outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Individuals who have not received treatment in accordance with NY state law may be entitled to back wages and should contact a New York wage and hour attorney for assistance.

Though the minimum wage in New York is the same as compared to the Federal minimum wage that is $7.25 an hour, there are a few provisions for New Yorkers that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not guarantee.

Employees working in New York that are required to wear a uniform cannot have the cost of purchasing and maintaining that uniform cancel out their minimum wage. Hence employer must cover the expenses if the cost and maintenance of the uniform brings an employees wages below $7.25 an hour, which means that any employee who currently makes minimum wage would not be required to purchase a uniform him or herself. This generally does not include the "black pants, white shirt" dress code many restaurants use.

As per the FLSA, most employees working more than 40 hours in a single workweek must be paid time-and-a-half for the overtime. Yet, while that document excludes live-in (or "residential") employees, New York overtime law guarantees them overtime as well, but they will be paid overtime for working more than 44 hours in a week. All employers should keep proper records of the working hours and pay rates of their employees, including in-house workers.

Most of employees are subject to overtime pay unless they fall in two specific categories to qualify as "exempt" from overtime pay. For exempt employees, they must be paid on a salary or fee basis of at least $455 per week. Salary is defined as "predetermined amount payment for each pay-period that is not subject to reduction due to variations in quality or quantity of work, regardless of the number of hours worked." Fee is defined as, payment of an agreed sum for a job without regard to the amount of time required for its completion. The second requirement pertains to the type of work done by the employee. Exemptions are allowed for "white-collar" employees only that meet specific requirements that vary based on the person's particular area of employment. Executives, administrators, highly educated professionals (such as physicians and attorneys), creative professionals (like writers and artists), computer professionals (such as software programmers), outside sales reps and highly compensated employees (that earn less than $100,000 and typically perform executive, administrative, or other professional tasks) are considered white-collar employees and may be exempt from overtime. Job titles alone are insufficient to determine exempt status and employees must meet specific requirements to be considered exempt.

Restriction on deducting pay from an exempt employee for missed work. Employers may not make deductions of exempt employees if the reason for absence is due to the employer or the operating needs of the business (e.g., work is unavailable and the employee is ready, willing, and able to work). Moreover, deductions may not be made for absences resulting from jury duty, attendance as a witness in court, or temporary military leave. These restrictions carry important implications for the exemption status of your employees.

Deductions may be made from the salaries of exempt employees because of personal reasons which results in absences for e.g., illness and/or disability. These deductions must be made, however, per the terms of an explicit plan, policy or practice. However the exempt employees can be penalized or their salary can be deducted in case of violating of the code of conducts or organizational established policies for e.g., harassment and workplace violence and etc.

It is a legal right of the employees to be paid overtime, and it’s for those who are considered non-exempt by Federal and New York state labor laws. New York employees who have been denied to pay overtime may take legal action to recover the earnings they have lost under the protection of law.