As of July 2009, the New York State minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour.
The federal minimum wage rate is also $7.25 per hour. In cases where the federal and state wage rates are different and an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the greater of the two wages.
As of July 2009, the New York Department of Labor increased the "tip credit" that restaurants are entitled to take. This helped increase the minimum wage rate from $4.60 to $4.65 for food service workers who receive tips. The increase also affects the overtime premium paid to food service workers in New York.
Please be aware that when an employee is required to wear a uniform at work, the cost of purchasing or maintaining the uniform plus earnings should not make the employee's hourly rate fall below the minimum wage rate. The value of meals and lodging is also considered when an employer calculates an employee's minimum wage requirements.
The Department of Labor also increased the minimum weekly salary required for an employee to be considered "exempt" from receiving overtime under New York law. The result is that an employee paid at least a minimum weekly salary of $543.75, increased from $536.10, is not entitled to receive overtime.
Many workers are entitled to receive minimum wage, but some are not. Workers who are exempt from the minimum wage law include:
Workers who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") are generally not entitled to overtime pay. These workers include:
Many employers have to pay overtime to their workers, but some do not. For an employer to be covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), thus required to pay overtime, the employer must:
Most workers are allowed at least thirty (30) minutes for a noon day meal under Section 162 of the New York Labor Law. Every person employed in or in connection with a factory is allowed at least sixty (60) minutes for the noon day meal.
The noon day meal period is recognized as extending from eleven o'clock in the morning to two o'clock in the afternoon.
An employer does not have to pay you for holidays, sick time or vacation under New York law, unless an established workplace policy, custom, or contract requires it.
If an employer pays you for holiday, sick time or vacation time, the employer can unilaterally impose its own conditions on the benefits, but the employer may not provide those benefits in a discriminatory or retaliatory manner or in a manner that otherwise violates federal, state or local law.
New York State is an "employment-at-will" state, which means that employment may be terminated for any reason or no reason, with or without cause and with or without notice by you or by your employer.
Still, at-will is not without restrictions. An employer may not fire you for unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation under New York or federal law. Unlawful discrimination or harassment is misconduct against your sex, race, sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender, age, disability, religion, or other legally protected classification.
Wrongful termination under NY and federal law may also occur if your employer fires you in a manner that breaches an established contract that otherwise restricts termination (such as a collective bargaining agreement, employment offer letter, or provision in an established employee manual), or in a manner that otherwise violates New York or federal law.
Other exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine exist under sections of the New York State Labor Law. Section § 201-d of the Labor Law prohibits an employer from firing an employee for engaging in political or recreational activities outside of the workplace, for legal use of consumable products outside of work, or for membership in a union. Section § 215 of the Labor Law prohibits employers from penalizing employees 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.
When employment is terminated, your employer must pay your last check by the regular payday for the pay period worked. If requested, the employer must also mail the final check directly to you.
New York State does not offer paid family leave at this time, although legislation has been proposed that would mandate paid medical leave for certain health conditions of your own.
New York does follow the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") under federal law, which offers a 12-week period of unpaid leave to employees who need to take time off for certain health conditions of their own or of family members. The FMLA also provides leave for family members of those serving in the military under certain circumstances.