Minimum Wage: Your Rights as an Employee in New York

New Yorks labor laws provide employees with numerous basic
workplace protections, including minimum wage.

All private-sector employees—except for outside salespeople, babysitters, taxi drivers, camp counselors and people employed in a professional, executive or administrative capacity—are entitled to minimum wage, which is currently set at $9.70 an hour.

Employers must also pay employees for overtime at one-and-a-half times the employee’s standard rate when working more than 40 hours a week. Thus, if an employee makes $10 an hour, that person would receive $15 for every overtime hour.

There are also some different rules in place for tip-earning employees. Minimum wages for tipped employees vary according to industry. Paid food service workers will typically receive a few dollars less per hour, with the expectation that those wages will be made up for in tips.

Knowing your right to fair wages

Below are a few other items you should understand about your wage rights in the state of New York:

  • Pay frequency: All private-sector employees must be paid in a timely manner. Manual workers must be paid weekly, with the wages for a week’s work being paid no later than seven days after the end of that week. Most employees must be paid at least twice a month. Employees paid on commission must be paid their wages and commissions at least once a month, and no later than the last day of the month following the earning month.
  • Allowed deductions: Employers are not allowed to make any deductions to employee wages other than those required by law. This includes payroll taxes, child support orders and wage garnishments. Employees may authorize additional deductions, such as payments for insurance premiums, benefits for pension or welfare, union dues, charitable contributions and income taxes.
  • Tip rights: Employers cannot demand or even accept any portion of an employee’s tips. Employers are also not allowed to require tip pooling or that tipped employees share their tips with non-service personnel.
  • Fringe benefits: Employers are not required, under New York state law, provide employees with any fringe benefits unless they have already promised to do so. There are no statutory rights to benefits such as paid sick leave, vacation pay or employer-provided health insurance. If an employer fails to follow through on promises to provide fringe benefits, however, it can quickly become the subject of a lawsuit.
  • Termination: Upon termination, employees are entitled to have outstanding wages paid to them no later than their regular pay day.
  • Breaks: Certain employees are entitled to meal breaks, but there is no requirement that employees be paid for these breaks. Factory employees, for example, are allowed 60 minutes for their lunch.
  • Required overtime: Employers may require overtime or weekend work in some situations, although manual employees must be given one full day off per week.

To learn more about your rights when it comes to wages and other aspects of your employment, contact a dedicated New York labor law attorney with Cilenti & Cooper, PLLC.