New York City is one of the most expensive places in the world to live, but the good news is that workers in the Big Apple, and in New York state in general, get paid more than workers almost anywhere else in the country. In New York and other states, workers who get paid by the hour are entitled to receive overtime pay during weeks when they work more than 40 hours. As in other states, employees who get paid a six-figure annual salary are not entitled to overtime pay, and neither are workers at temporary jobs where the workdays are long but the entire job lasts only a few weeks or even a few days. There are even certain types of work where it is legal for employers to pay employees less than the minimum hourly wage. Furthermore, the minimum wage varies across industries, is different in different parts of the state, and is currently undergoing a set of annual increases. To find out if the amount your employer has been paying you is in compliance with the current wage laws, contact the New York City wage and overtime lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP.
Different Minimum Wages in Different Parts of New York State
In the five boroughs of New York City, the minimum wage is $15.00, regardless of how many employees work for the employer. Say what you will about Long Island and Yonkers, but employers in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Countries are also entitled to a minimum wage. In the rest of New York state, the minimum wage for most industries is $13.20.
A new law that went into effect on July 1, 2021 gave fast food workers throughout the state of New York the right to a minimum wage of $15.00. This law defines fast food restaurants as establishments that meet the following criteria:
- The establishment gets most of its revenue from the sale of food.
- Customers pay for their food before eating it, and there is limited seating in the restaurant.
- The restaurant has at least 30 locations
By this logic, McDonald’s and Popeye’s are fast food restaurants, but locally owned counter service restaurants are not. Therefore, the employees at the Taco Bell at Watertown must be paid at least $15.00 per hour, but the ones at your uncle’s neighborhood burger joint in St. Lawrence County are entitled to an hourly wage of at least $13.20.
Minimum Wage Laws for Employees Who Receive Tips in New York City
In some industries, employees receive most of their pay in the form of tips. Employers in these industries get to take a tip credit, which is an amount they may subtract from the hourly wage on the assumption that the employee’s tips will make the employee’s total earnings add up to at least the minimum wage. For example, employers in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County must pay restaurant servers at least $10.00 per hour, which means that the employer’s tip credit is $5.00 per hour. In the rest of the state, where the minimum wage is $13.20 per hour, employers must pay restaurant servers at least $8.80 per hour and can claim a tip credit of $4.40.
New York City Overtime Pay
All states have overtime laws, whereby hourly employees are entitled to receive 1.5 times their hourly rate of pay for every hour beyond the 40th that they work in a given week. This means that most employees are entitled to receive at least $22.50 for the 41st hour (and every subsequent hour) that they work in an especially busy week. Keep in mind that overtime pay is 1.5 times your current wage, not 1.5 times the minimum wage, so if your usual pay rate is $30.00 per hour, then you will get $45.00 for each hour of overtime work.
In almost all occupations that are eligible for overtime pay, the overtime rate applies beginning with the 41st hour in the week that the employee works. New York is one of only a few states where domestic workers are entitled to overtime pay, but for them, the overtime rate applies beginning with the 45th hour of work in the week.
Which Occupations are Exempt From Overtime Pay in NYC?
Not all jobs are eligible for overtime pay. In general, it only applies to workers who get paid by the hour. Most so-called white-collar jobs, such as managers and business executives, get paid a monthly salary instead of an hourly wage. (Classifying employees by color of collar is something of a misnomer; consider that most bank tellers and most receptionists at law offices and hotels dress formally at work, but they get paid by the hour, so they are eligible for overtime pay.) Salaried employees who earn at least $112,250 per year are not entitled to receive overtime pay.
Likewise, seasonal and temporary jobs are exempt from overtime pay. If you work in a restaurant that is only open from June through August, your employer does not have to pay you overtime in the weeks that you work more than 40 hours. The same applies if you are working in a retail store from the weekend before Thanksgiving until December 30. Likewise, overtime wage laws do not apply to babysitters who work part-time in the employer’s house, so employees who work on farms owned by their close family members, or to some employees of charitable organizations.
The laws about minimum wage and overtime pay are clear enough, but employers sometimes try to shortchange employees on pay. If this happens to you, you should contact a New York City wage and overtime lawyer.
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP About Wage and Overtime Disputes in New York City
The New York City employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you stand up for your rights if your employer is not paying you what they owe you pursuant to minimum wage and overtime laws. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in New York, New York to set up a consultation.