New York has some of the hardest-working people in the nation, which is no surprise considering the high cost of living here. To help workers with these costs, the minimum wage has steadily been increased over the last several years, with additional increases to be layered in over the next few years.
State laws also establish standards for who can earn overtime and what that overtime pay needs to be. With some exemptions, most workers must receive "time and a half" pay after they work 40 hours in one week. When employers try to circumvent or ignore these wage laws, workers receive far less compensation than they deserve. Sometimes these violations are honest mistakes made by employers who do not understand the statutes, but other times they are an attempt to rob workers of the money they earn.
An experienced employment and workers' rights attorney can help make sure employers pay what they owe and you make the money you deserve. If your wages have not been fairly paid to you, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, today at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your options.
Under federal law, the Minimum Wage Act states that workers who are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act are required to be paid in accordance with both state laws and federal mandates. For those who earn tips, an allowance is permitted to be credited toward the minimum wage. A credit amount toward minimum wage may be granted by employers for lodging and meals the employer provides. Do you maintain a uniform? Then an amount in excess of the minimum wage must be paid to you.
The minimum wage in the state depends on location, and is set to increase over the next few years:
- NYC - The current minimum wage is $15.
- Long Island & Westchester: The current minimum wage is $13 per hour. It will increase to $14 per hour at the end of 2020, and $15 per hour in 2021.
- Remainder of New York State: The current minimum wage is $11.80 per hour. It will increase to $12.50 at the end of 2020, and will increase each year after 2020 until it eventually reaches $15 per hour.
There are some exceptions to the minimum wage. This information can also be freely accessed on the New York Department of Labor website. One of the most common exceptions to minimum wage is for food service workers and other hospitality employees.
- Taxi drivers
- Administrators, executives, and other professionals who earn more than 75 times the minimum wage rate
- Outside salespeople
- Babysitters who work part-time
- Employees of state or federal government
- Companions who care for the elderly in their homes, provided their duties do not include housekeeping
- Students, learners, or apprentices who work in nonprofit institutions
- Students who are obtaining vocational educational experience
After 40 hours per week of work, employees in most occupations are required to be paid overtime wages equal to one-and-a-half times their hourly rate. In the case of residential employees or "live-in" workers, overtime payment begins after 44 hours per week of work. There are exemptions to overtime pay requirements, some of the most common of which include:
- Executive, administrative, and professional employees who receive a base salary rather than an hourly wage. This typically includes managers as well as corporate employees and officers within a company.
- Seasonal and recreational businesses. Some establishments that only operate on a seasonal basis do not have to pay their staff overtime, depending on the nature of the establishment.
- Farmworkers who are employed on small farms in New York State. This also includes young workers who are allowed to work on these farms with parental consent.
- Drivers, helpers, loaders, and mechanics who are employed by a motor carrier so long as the employee's job affects the safe operation of vehicles.
- Computer professionals under certain circumstances. These individuals must receive at least $27.63 as an hourly wage, in which case they can be exempt from overtime pay.
- Commissioned sales employees in retail and service businesses can also be exempt from receiving overtime wages. However, this only applies if more than half of their earnings come from commissions and the employee averages at least one-and-one-half times the minimum wage for each hour worked.
For more information regarding overtime pay or to file a complaint, New York residents may call or write the Department of Labor, Division of Labor Standards.
- State Office Building Campus, Albany, NY 12240; phone (518) 457-2730. Addresses and phone numbers of other offices may be found here.
At the law firm of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, & Halperin, LLP, our experienced New York overtime law lawyers have gained insight through years of practice that will help you pursue fair compensation. We offer a free case evaluation. Call us at (212) 986-7353 or complete our case evaluation form.