The primary purpose of the New York Labor Law is to manage the relationship between workers and employees. Essentially, they define the duties and rights of each of these groups. In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal labor law enforced by the US Department of Labor (DOL). Each state is allowed to expand on this federal law and offer additional worker protections. In this post, we will focus on the state of New York and dive into the topic of what the NY Labor Laws actually are.
According to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the fundamental goal of labor law is to improve the “inequality of bargaining power” between workers and employers, especially if the employers are large organizations or corporations.
Familiarizing themselves with the New York Labor Laws will help an employee better understand their rights and responsibilities. If they feel like an employer wronged them, they should know what they can do about it.
NY Labor and Employment Laws
Employment Laws under the New York Labor Laws are known as Labor Standards. They include the following sections:
- Wage and Hour Law
- Home Health Care Aides and Wage Parity
- Illegal Deductions
- Child Labor
- Payment of Tips Received by Credit Card and Cash
- Apparel Industry
- Nursing Mothers in the Workplace
- Farm Labor
- Nail Salon Industry
- Employment Agencies
- Licenses, Certifications, Permits, and Registrations
- Professional Employer Organizations
- Mandatory Overtime for Nurses
- Posting Requirements/Notifications
All of these laws are enforced by the Division of Labor Standards. To make matters easier, we will outline all the basic worker rights you should learn more about.
Paid Safe and Sick Leave
In 2016, New York state imposed the Paid Family Leave policy that enables eligible employees to have paid time off for different reasons. These reasons can be to bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child, care for a family member with a severe illness, or assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.
Under the New York City Sick Leave Law, if you work more than 80 hours a year, you are entitled to up to 40 hours of safe and sick leave. Safe leave is for taking safety measures in domestic violence threats, stalking, unwanted sexual contact, or even human trafficking. Sick leave is for medical care and treatment.
Whether these leaves are paid, or unpaid depends on the size of the company you work for. If your employer employs five or more workers, then you have the right to paid sick and safe leave. If they have fewer than five employees, then your leave will likely be unpaid.
Domestic workers have additional leave protections, such as at least three paid days of rest a year.
According to the NY Minimum Wage Laws, every worker in New York state has the right to earn at least the minimum wage.
As of December 31st, 2019, the minimum wage in New York City is $15.00 per hour. In Westchester county, as well as Nassau and Suffolk, it is $13.00, and is set to increase to $14 on January 1, 2021. In the rest of New York state, it is $11.80 per hour, and is set to increase to $12.50 on January 1, 2021.. Employees in the fast-food industry and those who receive tips have different hourly rates.
All New York employees must be paid for every hour they work, regardless of whether the work was done before or after their scheduled shift. Additionally, the time spent traveling during the workday may, under certain circumstances, also be fairly compensated.
If an employer doesn’t provide the minimum wage, they can be found liable for the sum of those unpaid minimum wages, plus liquidated damages of 100% of the underlying unpaid wage..
An employee can file a complaint against their employer if the employer has failed to pay the required minimum wages, taken illegal kickbacks from wages, or appropriated tips, or failed to provide wage supplements. These wage supplements can be vacation or holiday pay, reimbursement of expenses, paid sick leave, or similar.
The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act describes precisely which types of employees are exempt from overtime law. Workers who are not exempt have the right to be paid overtime wages for every hour they worked over 40 hours in a workweek. In New York , an employee is entitled to receive overtime compensation in the amount of at least 1.5 times their regular rate of pay.
Day of Rest and Work Breaks
The One Day Rest in Seven Law in the New York State Labor Law requires employers to provide their employees with at least one day off (twenty-four consecutive hours) in a calendar week. This law applies to all employees, whether they work in factories, mercantile establishments, restaurants, theaters, offices, farms, private households, or different workplaces altogether.
In general, employers in New York State must also provide at least 30 minutes of unpaid meal breaks if an employee works more than six consecutive hours.
Working mothers are allowed to take breaks to pump breast milk at work. Their employers are obligated to inform them of this right and to provide the required break time. A nursing mother is allowed to take a break to pump breast milk at least once every three hours. The break can last at least 20 minutes but may be longer if the mother needs it. At the same time, the employer cannot reduce other break time, such as lunch break time.
What should you know about the NY Labor Laws?
Even though we have outlined the basics of the New York Labor Laws in this post, there is no need for you to memorize every single piece of information. This is simply an overview of the essential rights all New York employees have, no matter what type of industry they work in.
What you need to know is that there are numerous laws and regulations put in place to protect workers like you. If you suspect that your rights have been violated by your employer , you must know that you have the right to legal protection. . It doesn’t hurt to talk with an experienced employment lawyer to determine whether your rights have been violated and what financial damages you may be entitled to under the law..
If you have any questions about the New York Labor Laws or would like to know whether your employer is acting within their legal boundaries, please contact Cilenti & Cooper at (718) 841-7474.