In New York, many individuals work hard to make a living and expect to receive their fair share of pay. At times, however, employers fail to pay their employees according to state and federal mandatory wage and hour laws. While some employers make mistakes when calculating pay, all types of workers can be exploited by wage theft and other unfair practices.
The Law Offices of Yale Pollack helps workers in New York City and on Long Island whose rights to fair pay have been violated. We have expertise in a wide range of wage and hour claims, including:
- Minimum wage violations
- Commission Disputes
- Overtime pay violations (Unpaid Overtime)
- Failure to pay for off-the-clock work, breaks or meal time
- Misclassification of exempt and non-exempt employees
- Misclassification of independent contractors
Our firm also works with employers to ensure their policies adhere to federal, state, city and local wage and hour laws and defends them from employee claims.
The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law requiring employees to be paid a minimum wage and overtime pay (time and a half for all hours worked over 40 hours per week).
While non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay, certain employees are exempt from this requirement, including executive, administrative and professional employees. In some cases, wage and hours claims arise when employers exploit non-exempt workers by misclassifying them as exempt.
Wages for Restaurant Workers Under the FLSA, employers may pay tipped employees, such as restaurant and hospitality workers, less than the minimum wage, provided that they receive enough in tips to make up the difference. This is known as a tip credit, or the amount the employer does not have to pay. These workers are often victims of wage theft when employers take inappropriate tip credits, fail to notify employees of the tip credit policy or fail to redistribute tips as the law requires. (New York State and City laws also protect these employees from tip theft: tips cannot be seized by employers or shared with other workers).
New York State Wage and Hour Laws
There are a number of New York State laws that provide employees with greater wage protection than the FLSA.
New York State Minimum Wage Act
As of December 31, 2015 all employers in the state of New York are required to pay employees a minimum wage of $9.00 per hour. Employers are required to post information in common areas informing employees of their right to a minimum wage. The state law also requires employers to pay overtime pay after 40 hours per week (time and a half). Employees must also be provided with a meal period, generally between 30 and 60 minutes, as well as 15 minute rest periods, depending on a number of factors.
Minimum Wage Increases
New legislation in New York will increase the minimum wage to $15 by the end of 2018 for employers in New York City and by the end of 2021 in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. The wage rate will initially be raised as of December 31, 2016, and the timing and scope of the wage increases thereafter depend on the county in which the employee works and the size of the business. It is essential for workers to know their rights under the new law and for employers to ensure they are in compliance with the new wage guidelines as they become effective.
The Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA)
The state law requires employers to give written notice of wage rates to each new hire, including:
- Rate or rates of pay, including overtime, if applicable
- How the employee is paid -- by the hour, shift, day, week, commission, etc.
- Regular payday
- Allowances taken as part of the minimum wage, such as tips, meal and lodging deductions
The notice must also include the name of the employer, and any other business names used, the address and phone number of the employer's main location. The notice must be given both in English and the employee's primary language.
The New York Labor Law
New York Labor Law (NYLL) requires employees to be paid regularly: weekly for manual laborers, twice a month for clerical and other workers and monthly for commissioned salespeople. Employers must provide workers with a pay stub with each pay period and notify employees of its policy on sick, leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays and hours. The law also prohibits the misclassification of non-exempt employees and independent contractors.
Prevailing Wage Under the NYLL, contractors and subcontractors must pay the prevailing wage to all workers employed under a public work contract. This is the wage rate set for the locality where the work is performed, and it applies to all laborers, workers, mechanics or other tradespeople.
In sum, employees in New York have a right to fair pay and employers have a responsibility to adhere to mandatory wage and hour laws. The Law Offices of Yale Pollack, located in Syosset, New York works with employees and employers to resolve wage and hour claims on Long Island and in New York City. Call our office today for a free evaluation of you case at (516) 634-6340.