Issues with receiving your paycheck on time or with the correct amount can be extremely worrying. New York’s labor laws provide numerous protections to New York employees with regard to their paychecks to help avoid such problems. If you feel like your employer is not correctly following the law regarding your paycheck, then it is important that you know your rights as an employee.

New York Labor Laws: When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out?

New York law requires that employers with manual employees pay their employees weekly, unless the employer is a nonprofit or has received authorization from the commissioner to pay their employees on a semi monthly basis. Railroad workers must also be paid on a weekly basis, and there is no exception to this obligation as there is for manual workers.

If you are a salesperson who is paid on commission, then you are entitled to payment only once a month, and incentive and other bonus payments are to only be paid out in accordance with a set payment schedule or your employment contract. All other workers must be paid on a semi monthly basis, but employers who have the right to pay on a semi monthly basis can choose to pay their employees more frequently.

New York Labor Laws: What Happens to My Paycheck If I am Fired?

Under New York law, you must be given your last paycheck from your employer by the next payday. The law is the same for employees who were fired or quit. If a company has a policy to provide paid vacation or sick days, then that amount should be paid when you leave a job, unless the company has a written forfeit policy for paid leave. If there are requirements you have to meet to be entitled to that pay, the company has to be clear on their policy and provide you those requirements in writing.

New York Labor Laws: Can My Paycheck Be Garnished?

Garnishment can occur without a court judgment against you authorizing garnishment if the money is owed for child support, defaulted student loans, or unpaid taxes. For all other creditors, they have to take you to court first and get a judgment that gives them permission to deduct money automatically from your paycheck. Once that judgment has been issued against you, then they can have your wages garnished to pay off that debt.

New York only allows very specific deductions from your paycheck, such as union dues and charitable donations, and your written authorization is required for most of these deductions. The state will not allow your employer to deduct money from your wages to cover the cost of any damaged property or products.

New York Labor Laws: Can I Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

In New York, your employer is never allowed to refuse to hand over your paycheck. If your employer is withholding your paycheck, you can file a claim for unpaid wages with the New York State Department of Labor’s (NYS DOL) Division of Labor Standards (DLA) or pursue your unpaid wages through a lawsuit.

In particular, a common legal issue in relation to paychecks is that of withheld overtime pay. In the state of New York, employees must be paid one and a half times their regular rate of pay for all overtime hours that they work. For instance, if they are paid $14/hour, then they need to be paid $21 for each hour worked overtime.

If the employer fails to pay the person their overtime check, or even if they withhold a portion of their overtime wages, they could be found liable for a legal violation. For instance, if they pay the employee only a regular pay rate instead of the overtime rate, they may face a legal claim (even if they did provide a portion of the paycheck). The regular wage rate cannot be lower than minimum wage.

New York Labor Laws: What Else Do I Need to Know About My Paycheck?

The New York Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) requires that every paycheck you get contain information about your pay rate and hours. For any paycheck that is missing all of the information required, an employer can be fined $250 per day, per employee.

Also, employers are required to provide a written notice to each new employee about their wages, such as their rate of pay and the basis for said rate, as well as notice any time that this information changes.

If notice about paychecks is not provided, then employers can be fined $50 per day, per employee. Employees can sue an employer for not providing them with the information required under the WPTA, but each employee can only recover $5,000 in damages.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer for My Paycheck Concerns?

If you are having issues with your paycheck, you should speak with a New York employment lawyer. Getting a lawyer to represent your rights can be extremely important when fighting for your fair wage. Your attorney can help answer your questions, and can provide representation in the event that you need to attend any court meetings.