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Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - New York

Does New York have state overtime laws that are different from federal law?

The State of New York's overtime provision essentially tracks the federal provision. Employers must pay employees one and one-half times the employee's regular rate for overtime. Overtime is time over 40 hours in one week for nonresidential employees, or 44 hours per week for residential (“live-in”) employees. For employees of resort hotels, if the employee works seven consecutive days, the hours worked on the seventh day are overtime. Anyone who is not covered under the minimum wage law is also not covered by the overtime provisions (see below).

You can read more about federal overtime law at our page on overtime laws.

Does New York have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?

The minimum wage in New York is $10.40 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. On December 31, 2018, this will increase to $11.10 per hour, and will continue to increase every year until it reaches $15.00 per hour. In 2021, increases will be based on the consumer price index. Click to see graphs of state’s plan from 2016-2021. 

Employers can use tips and gratuities to reduce the minimum wage required for food service workers to $7.50 per hour as long as tips bring this amount to the state minimum wage. This will increase starting December 31, 2019.

The minimum wage law does not apply to the following workers:

  • *Babysitters or persons working as companions for sick or elderly individuals
  • *Workers in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity
  • *Outside salespersons
  • Taxi drivers
  • *Volunteers or apprentices for charitable, religious, or educational organizations
  • *Members of religious orders (e.g. priests, rabbis)
  • *Students and handicapped individuals working for religious or charitable organizations, as well as people working for such institutions doing incidental work or work in return for assistance
  • *Employees of a summer camp operated by a religious or charitable organization if it operates less than three months each year
  • *Staff counselors in children's camps
  • Employees of student or faculty associations (e.g. fraternities)
  • Employees of federal, state, or municipal governments or their subdivisions
  • *Volunteers at recreational or amusement events that do not run longer than 8 days

 

The employees with asterisks (*) are those who are also not covered under the federal minimum wage requirement. The following individuals not covered under the federal minimum wage requirement are covered by New York State's law:

  • Those working in amusement or recreational establishments not falling into the state exception above, but that do not operate more than seven months a year or that make the vast majority of their profit in a six-month period of the year
  • Employees who work in fishing or deal with aquatic/marine products
  • Farm workers (see below)
  • Employees of limited circulation newspapers
  • Certain switchboard operators
  • Seamen on non-American vessels
  • Computer professionals (note that these may be exempt under state law under the "bona fide professional capacity" exemption)

 

There are special wage orders for the hospitality industry (including food service workers, and tipped hotel workers), building services (such as janitors), and apparel industry workers. More details about each one can be found under the “posters” section of NY’s Minimum Wage website. There are also specific regulations for child performers.

New York State, unlike federal law, has separate legislation that covers farm workers. Under that legislation, farm workers are entitled to the same minimum wage (see directly above) as other workers. This only applies to farms, however, that spent more than $3,000 in wages to workers the year before. See more here. The following farm workers are not covered by this provision:

  • Domestic service workers
  • Employer's immediate family members
  • Minors under 17 employed as hand harvest workers on the same farm as a parent/guardian and who are paid on a piece-rate basis at the same rate as employees 17 or older
  • Individuals employed or permitted to work for a federal, state, or municipal government of political subdivision of such

An employer is allowed to count the reasonable cost of meals against the minimum wage ($1.70 per meal), except that this does not apply to migrant workers who earn less than $254 in a two-week period. The same is true for the reasonable value of lodgings ($18.95 per week for single occupancy, $12.65 per week for multiple occupancy). This does not apply to migrant seasonal employees.

Still confused? Use New York’s minimum wage calculator.

 

Do any cities or counties in New York have a minimum wage that is different from state or federal law?

Yes. The state of New York’s minimum wage plan has additional guidelines for employees working in New York City, Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties), and Westchester county. Like the state minimum wage, there are are lower minimum wages for hospitality industry employees (fast food workers, service employees, and food service workers). Click to see graphs of state’s plan from 2016-2021.

New York City, New York has a minimum wage of $13.00 per hour for large employers (who have 11 or more employees), and a minimum wage of $12.00 per hour for small employers (who have 10 or fewer employees), effective December 31, 2017. On December 31, 2018, this will increase to $15.00 per hour for large employers, and $13.50 per hour for small employers.

Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties), and Westchester County have a minimum wage of $11.00 per hour, effective December 31, 2017. This will increase to $12.00 per hour on December 31, 2018.

Still confused? Use New York’s minimum wage calculator.

 

Does New York have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?

New York State law does require meal breaks. Factory employees are entitled to a one-hour lunch break. All other employees (whether or not they are covered under the minimum wage or overtime provisions) are entitled to a meal break of 30 minutes if they work for more than six hours and their work hours extend over the midday meal period (defined as being between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm). Anyone who starts work before 11:00 am and finishes after 7:00 pm is entitled to an additional 20-minute meal break between 5:00 and 7:00 pm. Anyone who starts work after 1:00 pm and finishes before 6:00 am is entitled to a one-hour meal break midway through her/his shift if (s)he works in a factory, or a 45-minute meal break if (s)he works in another establishment.

However, these rules are not strict, and it is very easy for employers to get around them. The New York Commissioner of Labor can permit an employer to provide a shorter meal period of at least 30 minutes. The Commissioner tends to allow this as a matter of course, and employers do not even need to apply for a permit. In some special circumstances, the employer may provide a meal period of only 20 minutes with the Commissioner's approval. An employer and employee may also negotiate to waive the meal period, as long as it is based on the employer's business necessity and the employer provides a substitute.

 

Does New York have other labor standards that are different from federal law?

Under New York State law, deductions from wages are only permissible when law requires it (e.g. taxes) and when the deduction is for the employee's benefit and the employee has given her/his express permission.

How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in New York?

If your employer owes you wages, and you have asked her/him to pay you, you can file a claim with the New York State Department of Labor. The wage claim form is available online, alongside other claim forms, including specific instructions for filing a claim. The Department will investigate your claim and attempt to help you collect your wages. If that is unsuccessful, the Department can bring a court case on your behalf to recover the wages you are owed. If the court finds that your employer acted willfully, it can award you, in addition to what you are owed, an additional 25%.

 

Completed forms are mailed to: 

NY State Department of Labor
Division of Labor Standards
State Campus, Bldg 12, Room 185C
Albany, NY, 12240

What are my time deadlines?

Do not delay in contacting the New York State Department of Labor to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which charges of wage and hour violations must be filed. It is not clear if there is a time deadline for filing a wage claim form with the Department of Labor, although the Department only has six years within which to bring a legal action on your behalf. However, as you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, but it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim with the Department.

How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in New York?

Instead of filing a claim with the New York State Department of Labor, you can file a claim in state court for unpaid wages as well. If you win your case, the court can award you the wages you are owed, an additional 25% (if the violation was willful), attorneys' fees, and litigation costs up to $50. The statute of limitations for bringing such a case is six years.

 

State Labor Agency
Contact the Labor Standards Division of the New York State Department of Labor:
Email: LSAsk@labor.state.ny.us
Phone: 1-888-469-7365.

 

Labor Standards ASU
State Campus
Bldg 12, Room 185B
Albany, NY, 12240
Phone: (518) 485-0307
Fax: (518) 457-8452 

Apparel Industry Task Force
75 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 775-3649

 

Child Performers
Labor Standards Permit & Certificate Unit
State Campus, Bldg 12, Room 266A
Albany, NY, 12240 

The following are the district offices of the New York State Department of Labor; to find out which office covers your county, see their District Offices page.

 

Albany District
State Office Campus Bldg. 12, Room 185A
Albany, NY 12240
Phone: (518) 457-2730
Fax: (518) 457-8452

 

Binghamton Sub-District
State Office Bldg.
44 Hawley St.
Binghamton, NY 13901
Phone: (607) 721-8014
Fax: (607) 721-8013

 

Buffalo District
65 Court Street Room 202
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 847-7141
Fax: (716) 847-7140

 

Garden City District
400 Oak Street Suite 101
Garden City, NY 11530-6551
Phone: (516) 794-8195
Fax: (516) 794-1046

New York City District
75 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 775-3880
Fax: (212) 775-3552 or (212) 775-3375

 

Rochester Sub-District
276 Waring Rd. Room 104
Rochester, NY 14609
Phone: (585) 258-4550
Fax: (585) 258-4556

 

Syracuse District
333 East Washington Street Room 121
Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 428-4057
Fax: (315) 428-4001

 

White Plains District
120 Bloomingdale Road
White Plains, NY 10605
Phone: (914) 997-9521
Fax: (914) 997-8780