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Wage And Hour FAQ

Wage and hour laws in New York are complex.

At Katz Melinger PLLC, we help our clients understand the complicated federal and state laws that may apply to them as employees. We protect them when their rights have been violated and help them determine their legal options.

Please read our answers to frequently asked questions about wage and hour laws in New York, or call us at 212-460-0047 to schedule a time to meet.

What Is The Minimum Wage In New York?

The current minimum wage in New York varies depending on the size and location of the employer.

On December 31, 2018, the minimum wage for New York City employees of large employers (11 or more employees) will be $15.00 per hour, and the minimum wage for employees of small employers (10 or less) will be $13.50 per hour. Starting on December 31, 2019, the minimum wage for employees of small employers will be $15.00 per hour.

On December 31, 2018, the minimum wage for employees of employers in Long Island and Westchester will be $12.00 per hour, and $11.10 per hour for employees of employers located in the remainder of New York state.

Each year on December 31, the minimum wage outside New York City is set to increase until it reaches $15.00 per hour for all employees across the state.

Find out more about New York's minimum wage.

What Is The Federal Minimum Wage?

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. This rate has not changed since July 2009.

Employers are required to pay employees the highest applicable minimum wage, so the most relevant minimum wage rate for employees in New York is generally the state rather than federal rate.

What Is The Difference Between Exempt And Nonexempt Employees?

Employees are classified as either exempt or nonexempt:

  • Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay
  • Nonexempt employees are eligible for overtime pay

Whether an employee is considered exempt or nonexempt depends on the nature of the work being performed and other factors. Nonexempt employees are frequently misclassified as exempt, meaning that their employers are not paying them overtime compensation even though the employees are entitled to such pay.

Are Employers Required To Provide Meal And Rest Breaks?

Under federal law, employers are not required to provide meal and rest breaks to employees.

However, under New York state law, employees are eligible for meal and rest breaks. The length and number of breaks vary depending on the type of work being performed, the length of the shift, and other factors.

What Laws Govern Overtime Pay In New York City?

Both state and federal laws address overtime pay in New York. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law and the New York Labor Law (NYLL) is a state law. Each provides that most nonexempt employees must receive the minimum wage and time-and-a-half pay for every hour worked over 40 in a week. Under the FLSA and NYLL, certain occupations are exempt and not entitled to overtime pay. Whether an employee is entitled to overtime under the FLSA or NYLL is often a fact-specific question that requires a detailed analysis of the employee's job duties.

How Common Is Wage Theft?

Failing to pay workers minimum wage and overtime is common and the focus of increasing concern by the U.S. Department of Labor. Wage theft occurs both intentionally and unintentionally. It is estimated that nearly $50 billion is stolen from workers every year.

Are Employees Who Work Through Breaks Entitled To Overtime?

Nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a week are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for all hours worked over 40 per week. Employees can voluntarily waive their right to a meal break, but they must be paid for that time, including overtime pay if the total number of hours worked by that employee that week is more than 40. This includes time spent "on call." Employees who are working at their desks while eating, on call during break, or driving from one work site to another while eating are considered working.

Are Workers Entitled To Previous Overtime Worked?

Yes, a wage and hour lawsuit can seek back pay for up to 6 years as a remedy for wage theft. If an employer has failed to pay overtime for several employees, those employees may join a class-action lawsuit that seeks to recover back wages for all employees named in the class action.

Wage And Hour Laws Can Be Complex. We Can Help.

For answers to your specific questions, contact one of our attorneys at 212-460-0047 to discuss your legal rights. You can also schedule an initial consultation online.