If you work in New York, you have the right to be paid in a timely manner. All too often, though, employers withhold paychecks or try and skirt the law to avoid paying overtime. If you’re owed money by your employer, you need to seize your power, understand that the law is on your side, and demand your rights.
If you work for a private employer and feel that you’re owed overtime pay or other unpaid wages, there are two routes you can go. First, you can file a complaint with the New York Department of Labor. You can imagine the nightmare of bureaucracy that filing a Department of Labor complaint entails.
The other option is to hire a labor attorney. According to New York’s Wage Theft Protection Act, you have the right to take your employer to court. If your employer is found to be at fault, you can recover the wages owed to you, damages equal to 100% of the wages owed to you, as well as court costs and attorney fees. Because the law says that your employer has to pay your attorney fees, getting a labor attorney shouldn’t cost you a dime.
Many people who are being victimized by their employers are afraid that they’ll be fired if they take action. That could happen, but the law specifically addresses this issue, and prohibits employers from penalizing employees who assert their rights. If your employer in any way punishes you, you have the right to file a claim against him.
To get the money you deserve, simply complete the form to the right or call 475-277-2200. Lemberg & Associates’ employment lawyers will review your case and give you no-nonsense answers to your questions.
According to New York law, when you’re hired, your employer is required to give you a written notice that includes information about your pay rate, your pay day, and your overtime pay rate (if applicable). You must provide your employer with a written acknowledgement that you received this information.
Generally speaking, non-exempt employees must be paid 1-1/2 times their regular pay for every hour worked over 40 hours during a workweek. For live-in domestic workers, overtime kicks in after 44 hours during a workweek. Keep in mind that overtime pay isn’t required if you work more than eight hours in a single day; it is only applicable after 40 hours (or 44 in the case of live-in domestic workers) per week.
The minimum wage in New York is $7.25 per hour. This applies to everyone except:
- Food service workers who earn at least $2.55 per hour in tips; their minimum wage is $4.60 per hour
- Janitors in residential buildings who earn less than $304.10; their minimum wage is $4.80 per unit
- Piece rate workers must average at least as much as the minimum wage
- Employees who must buy and/or maintain uniforms are entitled to an additional amount in order to prevent them being paid less than minimum wage
- For agricultural workers, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but a certain amount may be deducted for employer-provided meals and/or lodging
- Executives and administrators who earn more than $543.75 per week
- Outside salespeople
- Professionals, such as those with advanced degrees
- Taxi drivers
- Government employees
- Part-time babysitters
- Ministers, priests, and clerics
- Elder companions
- Independent contractors
New York law states that factory workers are entitled to a one-hour lunch break, and that other employees (such as retail employees) are entitled to a 30-minute meal break for a shift of six or more hours. If your work hours include the hours between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., your lunch break needs to fall between those hours. If you work more than eight hours, you’re entitled to a second meal period between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. If you work swing or night shift (starting between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.), you’re entitled to a one-hour meal break if you work in a factory and a 45-minute meal break if you work in retail. Your meal break must be in the middle of your shift.
New York law mandates that certain types of workers be paid at certain intervals. Manual workers, for example, are required to be paid at least weekly, clerical and other workers at least semi-monthly, and commissioned salespeople at least monthly.