New York has established state laws to protect the rights of workers and employers beyond the rights already covered by federal law. This means that people who work in New York enjoy more rights and protects than afforded to workers in other states.

What Is Part-Time vs. Full-Time in New York?

Federal and New York state laws treat part-time employees and full-time employees the same in many areas, including minimum wage, overtime pay, and recordkeeping issues. However, employees often receive different benefits from their employers based on their part or full-time status. Since part-time status is not clearly defined under state or federal law in New York, it is up to the employer to decide whether to designate an employee as part- or full-time.

What Is the Minimum Wage in New York?

Due to the higher cost of living in New York, the minimum wage in New York is higher than the federal minimum wage as set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As of January 1, 2017, New York City businesses with 10 or fewer employees must pay at least $10.50 per hour, while businesses with 11 or more employees must pay at least $11.00 per hour. In Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties, minimum wage is $10.00 per hour, while the rest of New York must pay employees at least $9.70 per hour. There are also different minimum wage rates for employees who receive tips.

Minimum wage will increase in upcoming years on December 31 each year until minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour (and $10.00 per hour for tipped employees). The General Minimum Wage Rate Schedule is as follows:

 

Location/Employer Classification 12/31/2017 12/31/2018 12/31/2019 12/31/2020 12/31/2021
NYC Large Employers (>11 employees) $13.00 $15.00      
NYC Small Employers (<11 employees) $12.00 $13.50 $15.00    
Long Island & Westchester Counties $11.00 $12.00 $13.00 $14.00 $15.00
Remainder of New York State $10.40 $11.10 $11.80 $12.50 $14.20

 

Most people are covered by the minimum wage requirements. However, there are different wage orders for some professions, including farm workers and hospitality workers, and other types of positions, especially independent contractors such as taxicab drivers, are not covered by minimum wage laws at all.

Overtime

Under the FLSA, employers generally must pay employees overtime of time and a half their regular payment when they work more than 40 hours in a pay week. However, there are federally recognized exceptions for employees who are considered “exempt” under the law. In New York, more employees are entitled to overtime under state laws than under federal laws. New York has scheduled increases for minimum salary requirements for employees to be considered exempt from overtime laws: 

 

Location/Size 12/31/2016 12/31/2017 12/31/2018 12/31/2019 12/31/2020 12/31/2021
NYC Large Employers $42,900 $50,700 $58,500      
NYC Small Employers $40,950 $46,800 $52,650 $58,500    
Long Island/ Westchester $39,000 $42,900 $46,800 $50,700 $54,600 $58,500
Rest of New York $37,830 $40,560 $43,264 $46,020 $48,750  

 

This means that, though some professions are exempt from receiving overtime payment, New York has stricter standards for the minimum salary employees can receive in order to be considered exempt from overtime pay. For salaried employees, overtime is calculated by dividing the weekly salary by hours worked in that week, and then paying time and one half that rate of pay for all hours over 40 worked that week.

Health Benefits

The federal Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate requires employers with at least 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage to 95% of their full-time employees. New York also offers health insurance plans through its own exchange, New York State of Health. The New York State of Health SHOP exchange is open to small businesses with up to 100 employees, allowing small businesses to group together for insurance plans. However, this does not meant that small businesses are required to offer health insurance to their employees if they do not otherwise fall under the requirements of the ACA.

Discrimination

In New York, employees are generally considered "at-will", meaning they can be fired for nearly any reason. However, there are some state and federal exceptions to this in New York, where employees cannot be fired, or otherwise punished or denied benefits, as a result of being discriminated against if they are members of a protected class. Under federal law, these protected classes that cannot be discriminated against include race, national origin, age, disability, and gender. The New York State Division of Human Rights goes further than federal law by also prohibiting discrimination based on creed, genetic predisposition, sexual orientation, marital status, political or recreational activities outside of work, legal use of consumable products outside of work, or union membership.

If a person is wrongfully discriminated against by their employer, then they can file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the New York State Division of Human Rights. Damages available to an employee who has been discriminated against in the workplace include lost wages, lost benefits, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

Time Off

New York law does not require an employee receive paid time off for holidays, sick time, and/or vacations unless the employer has an established policy granting this benefit. However, the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid leave benefits for employees under certain circumstances. Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave under the FMLA if the employee needs it to:

  • Take care of a seriously ill immediate family member
  • Recuperate from a serious health condition suffered by the employee
  • Bond with a new child
  • Handle urgent matters related to military service of a family member

Where Can I Find a Local Employment Lawyer to Help Me?

Do not hesitate to contact a New York employment lawyer if you are worried that you are not receiving your rights and protections. The attorney can help you understand your rights and how to protect yourself.