Wages and Hours: Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What are the regulations for the employment of child performers in New York State?
- Q: What is the current minimum wage in New York State?
- Q: Can employers require their employees to wear uniforms?
- Q: Do the minimum wage requirements cover everyone?
- Q: Where can I find the required posters that summarize the minimum wage rules?
- Q: What are the rules for overtime?
- Q: Where can I find details about the state laws for employing minors?
- Q: How many hours can an employer ask an employee to work?
- Q: Must an employer give meal periods and "breaks" to workers?
- Q: Must an employer pay workers for holidays, sick time and/or vacations?
- Q: What is the status of an employer's oral agreement to provide a particular fringe benefit?
- Q: When employees resign -- or are discharged -- from a job, must the employer pay them for any accrued, unused vacation time?
- Q: How can employees get help to collect Wage Supplements (fringe benefits) that their employer owes them?
- Q: Does the law require that either an employer or employee "give notice" of termination?
- Q: Where will I find details on pensions and retirement funds, 401Ks, health & welfare plans, continuation of health care coverage and severance?
- Q: Can you fire an employee without due cause?
- Q: When must terminated employees get their last check?
- Q: How can employees get help to collect wages their employer owes them?
- Q: May employers deduct money from wages?
- Q: What information must an employer's payroll records contain?
- Q: What posters must employers display in the workplace? Where can they get the posters?
- Q: Where can I find the New York State Labor Laws on the Internet?
- Q: How do I get details on the new overtime regulations?
Q: What are the regulations for the employment of child performers in New York State?
A: You can find the regulations for employing child performers in New York State in the Legal section of the DOL website via this link.
Q: What is the current minimum wage in New York State?
A: The minimum wage in New York State is $7.25 per hour. Everyone has a right to earn at least the minimum wage. In New York State, most workers should earn $7.25 an hour.
- Hourly, daily or weekly
- In cash or by check
- Off the books
|Workers at the minimum wage rate must wear a uniform||Their employers must clean and take care of the uniforms OR Pay the employees to do so|
- Executives and administrators earning more than $543.75 per week
- Outside salespersons
- Taxicab drivers
- Government employees (However, certain non-teaching employees of BOCES are covered)
- Part-time babysitters
- Companions to the sick or elderly who live in their employer's home and whose principal duties do not include housework
- Ministers and members of religious orders
- Volunteers, learners, apprentices and students working in non-profit institutions
- Students obtaining vocational experience
Q: Where can I find the required posters that summarize the minimum wage rules?
A: Article 19 of the Labor Law requires employers to post the provisions of the Minimum Wage Act. This poster is available at:
Q: What are the rules for overtime?
A: The overtime requirement is based on hours worked in a given payroll week. Thus, time and one-half, double-time - or any amount higher than the agreed rate - is not required simply because the work is performed after eight hours per day or on a Saturday or Sunday.
|Covered employees||One and one-half times their regular, "straight-time" hourly rate of pay|
|Non-residential employees||Applies to all time over 40 hours in a payroll week|
|Residential employees ("live-in" workers)||Applies to all time over 44 hours in a payroll week|
http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/screen75.asp New York State follows these exclusions. However, the State still requires that they receive at least one and one-half times the minimum rate of $7.25 for their overtime hours in businesses covered by the Miscellaneous Wage Order.
Q: Where can I find details about the state laws for employing minors?
A: For information on "Child Labor" go to:
- The number of work hours per day (except for children under 18)
- How early in the morning an adult employee may work
- How late in the day an adult employee may work
- In factories
- In mercantile establishments
- In hotels (except resort/seasonal hotels)
- In restaurants (except small, rural restaurants)
- As an elevator operator
- As a watchman
- As a janitor
- As a superintendent
- Work a shift of more than six hours starting before 11 AM
- Continue until 2 PM
- Have an uninterrupted lunch period of
- Half an hour between 11 AM and 2 PM
Employers do not have to provide other "breaks", such as for "rest periods" or "coffee breaks." But, if an employer permits a break (of up to 20 minutes), then they should pay it as work time.
Q: Must an employer pay workers for holidays, sick time and/or vacations?
A: Under the New York State Labor Law, payment for time not actually worked is not required unless the employer has established a policy to grant such pay. Holidays, sick time and/or vacations fall under 'time not worked.' When an employer does decide to create a benefit policy, that employer is free to impose any conditions they choose.
- Reimbursement of expenses or tuition
- Health coverage
- Payment for - Sick time - Vacation - Personal leave - Holidays
Q: What is the status of an employer's oral agreement to provide a particular fringe benefit?
A: Section 195.5 of the Labor Law states: Every employer shall notify his employees in writing or by publicly posting the employer's policy on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays and hours.
Q: When employees resign -- or are discharged -- from a job, must the employer pay them for any accrued, unused vacation time?
A: Whether an employer must pay for unused time depends upon the terms of the vacation and/or resignation policy. New York courts have held that an agreement to give benefits or wage supplements, like vacation, can specify that employees lose accrued benefits under certain conditions. [See Glenville Gage Company, Inc. v. Industrial Board of Appeals of the State of New York, Department of Labor, 70 AD2d 283 (3d Dept 1979) affd, 52 NY2d 777 (1980).] To be valid, the employer must have told employees, in writing, of the conditions that nullify the benefit.
|An employee has earned vacation time||There is no written forfeit policy||The employer must pay the employee for the accrued vacation|
Q: How can employees get help to collect Wage Supplements (fringe benefits) that their employer owes them?
A: The Division of Labor Standards investigates and tries to collect claims for unpaid benefits or wage supplements which the employer has agreed to provide. Wage supplements include:
- Vacation or holiday pay
- Paid sick leave
- Reimbursement of expenses
- Other similar items
Q: Does the law require that either an employer or employee "give notice" of termination?
A: Congress enacted the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) in 1988. Under the provisions of the act:
|Employers with 100 or more workers||Must give at least 60 days notice if a plant closing will affect 50 or more employees|
|For a mass layoff that does not result from a plant closing||Employers also must give notice for any furlough of 50 or more workers IF They make up one-third of the workforce OR IF A total of 500 or more workers are laid off|
For details from the U.S. Department of Labor, go to: http://www.dol.gov/
Q: Where will I find details on pensions and retirement funds, 401Ks, health & welfare plans, continuation of health care coverage and severance?
A: The Employee Benefits Security Administration enforces the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). It also enforces the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). These acts cover matters that involve:
- Pensions and retirement funds
- Health & welfare plans
- Continuation of health care coverage
Q: Can you fire an employee without due cause?
A: Yes. New York State is an "employment-at-will," state. If there is no contract to restrict firing (like a collective bargaining agreement) an employer has the right to discharge an employee at any time for any reason. This also protects the employee's right to resign. An employer may fire an employee for "no reason." An employer may also fire an employee for a reason that might seem arbitrary and unfair. The employee is equally free to quit at any time without needing to explain or defend that decision.
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Marital status
- Section 201-d prohibits an employer from firing an employee for:
- - political or recreational activities outside of work
- - legal use of consumable products outside of work
- - for membership in a union
- Section 215 states that no employer shall penalize any employee for making a complaint to the employer, to the Commissioner of Labor, or to the Commissioner's representative, about any provision of the Labor Law (Violation of § 215 can bring a civil fine and separate civil action by the employee.)
Q: When must terminated employees get their last check?
A: When employment has ended, the employer must pay the wages by the regular payday for the pay period worked. If asked, the employer must mail the final wages to the employee
Q: How can employees get help to collect wages their employer owes them?
A: The Division of Labor Standards investigates claims for unpaid or withheld wages including illegal deductions, and tries to collect these wages. Labor Standards also enforces the prohibition against illegal kickback of wages and tip appropriation.
- Payments for insurance premiums
- Pension or health and welfare benefits
- Contributions to charitable organizations
- Payments for United States bonds
- Payments for dues or assessments to a labor organization
- the total hours worked each day;
- the total hours worked each week;
- the rate or rates of pay and basis (by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission or other);
- if paid more than one hourly rate, the number of hours worked at each rate;
- if paid piece rates, the number of pieces completed at each piece rate;
- gross wages
- allowances or credits, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage; and
- net wages.
- the number of regular hours worked;
- the regular hourly rate or rates of pay;
- the number of overtime hours worked; and
- the overtime rates of pay.
Q: What posters must employers display in the workplace? Where can they get the posters?
A: The posters required by New York State law are available at the following website:
- A reprint of § 193, entitled, "Deductions From Wages"
- A reprint of § 196-d, entitled "Gratuities"
- Agricultural and garment industry employers
- Employers involved in Industrial Homework
- Employment Agencies
http://www.dol.gov/osbp/sbrefa/poster/main.htm For more information on New York State laws and regulations governing the Apparel Industry, go to:
http://www.labor.state.ny.us/business_ny/employer_responsibilities/workprot/garment.asp For more information on Farm Labor, Industrial Homework and Employment Agencies, go to:
http://www.labor.state.ny.us/business_ny/employer_responsibilities/workprot/lshmpg.htm For more information on Child Labor, go to:
Q: Where can I find the New York State Labor Laws on the Internet?
A: The New York State Labor laws are available online at the New York State Assembly homepage:
Q: How do I get details on the new overtime regulations?
A: For more information about the new federal overtime regulations, please visit the US Department of Labor's website.
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