New York Wage and Hour Laws
New York rules on employee overtime, wage and hour law, and fair pay.
What is the minimum wage in New York?
The minimum wage for most workers in New York is $9.70 per hour as of December 31, 2016. New York is scheduled to increase the minimum wage as follows:
- $10.40 on December 31, 2017
- $11.10 on December 31, 2018
- $11.80 on December 31, 2019, and
- $12.50 on December 31, 2020.
Fast food workers in New York have a special minimum wage. They must be paid at least $10.75 per hour, as of December 31, 2016. Beginning on December 31, 2017, the fast food minimum wage will increase each year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2021.
Employees working in New York City also receive a higher minimum wage than other employees in the state. To find out what minimum wage you are owed, check out the New York Labor Department's website.
Is the minimum wage different in New York for tipped employees?
The FLSA allows employers to pay a lower hourly minimum wage, as long as that wage plus the tips the employee earns adds up to at least the full minimum wage for each hour worked. If not, the employer has to make up the difference. In New York, the amount employers can pay tipped hourly employees depends on their occupation, and this amount combined with an employee’s tips must bring the total hourly wage up to the state minimum wage. For example, employers may take a tip credit of $2.20 for food service employees (other than fast food workers). This means that these employees must be paid at least $7.50 per hour, and they must make at least $2.20 per hour in tips. These numbers are adjusted each year as the minimum wage increases. (For more information, see Nolo’s article Tips, Tip Pooling, and Tip Credits.)
When am I entitled to earn overtime?
In New York, eligible employees must receive overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week for non-residential workers, and 44 hours in a week for residential workers. Not every type of job is eligible for overtime, however. To learn more, see Nolo’s article Overtime Pay: Your Rights as an Employee and contact the New York Department of Labor.
Am I entitled to a lunch or rest break?
Yes. Employees in New York are entitled to meal breaks. For factory employees, 60 minutes between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; mercantile employees, 30 minutes between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. If a shift starts before 11 a.m. and ends after 7 p.m., the employee gets an additional 20 minutes between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. If a shift starts between 1 p.m. and 6 a.m., a factory employee gets 60 minutes and a mercantile employee gets 45 minutes, in the middle of the shift. The labor commissioner may permit a shorter meal break, and the permit must be in writing and posted conspicuously in the main entrance of the workplace.
To learn more about wage and hour laws in New York, contact the state Department of Labor.
What are wage and hour laws?
Wage and hour laws set the basic standards for pay and time worked—covering issues like minimum wage, tips, overtime, meal and rest breaks, what counts as time worked, when you must be paid, things your employer must pay for, and so on.
Where do wage and hour laws come from?
The federal wage and hour law is called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Most states also have their own wage and hour laws, and some local governments (like cities and counties) do, too. An employer who is subject to more than one law must follow the law that is most generous to the employee. For example, the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, but employers in states that have set a higher minimum wage must pay the higher amount.
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