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Wage and Hour Law

Employment Attorneys Advocating for New York City and Long Island Workers

The minimum wage in the state of New York increased on December 31, 2018. The minimum wage is different in New York City from Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, and that minimum wage is different from the rest of the state of New York. Other issues that are addressed under wage and hour laws include tips, overtime, and rest and meal periods. If you believe that your employer has violated wage and hour laws, you should consult the experienced New York City wage and hour lawyers at Gerstman Schwartz.

Wage and Hour Law

Nonexempt employees in the state of New York must be paid at least minimum wage. In New York City, employers with 10 or fewer employees must pay $13.50 per hour as a minimum wage for nonexempt employees. Those with 11 or more employees need to pay $15 per hour as a minimum wage for nonexempt employees. However, in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, the minimum wage is $12.00 per hour. In the rest of New York, the minimum wage is $11.10 per hour. However, there are different rates for tipped workers and those in the fast food industry.

It is possible to file a claim with the Department of Labor if you do not receive the minimum wage. The New York State Division of Labor Standards can investigate and try to collect claims for illegal deductions, withheld wages, unpaid wages, and misappropriated tips.


The New York Minimum Wage Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act control overtime. Both state and federal overtime rules need to be followed, and both require overtime pay if a nonexempt employee works over 40 hours in a workweek. Specific domestic workers get overtime pay for hours worked over 44 in a workweek. If there are differences between state and federal overtime rules, an employer needs to follow the rule that provides the greater benefits to the worker. Our wage and hour attorneys can advise New York City and Long Island employees on the rules that may apply to them.

Overtime requirements are based on the hours that an employee works in a specific payroll week. In most cases, you are eligible for overtime if you worked over 40 hours in a pay week and you are not exempt. The overtime rate is one and one-half times the regular straight-time hourly rate of pay for all hours over 40 in a payroll week, and it needs to be paid for all hours over 40 hours in a pay week.

If your employer improperly withheld overtime pay from you, you have the right to collect damages caused by the failure to pay, back pay, attorneys’ fees, state civil penalties up to a maximum of $1,000, and an FLSA violations penalty of up to $10,000.

Rest and Meal Periods

Under Section 162 of the New York State Labor Law, New York employees are allowed certain meal breaks. The law applies to every person in a job covered by the Labor Law, including blue collar, white collar, and management jobs, but it can be different based on your line of work. Our New York City wage and hour attorneys can explain these differences. For example, if you work for a factory, you are supposed to be given at least 60 minutes for a noonday meal. However, if you work in connection to a mercantile or other job or at another establishment, you shall be allowed a minimum of 30 minutes for a noonday meal.

The rules are also different depending on when the shift starts and ends. For example, if you are employed for a period or shift of more than six hours starting between the hours of 1 PM and 6 AM, you are supposed to be permitted at least 60 minutes for a meal period when employed in or in connection with a factory, or 45 minutes for a meal period when employed in or in connection with a mercantile or other establishment or occupation coming under the provision of this chapter. The break must happen midway between the beginning and end of such employment.

Shorter meal periods of at least 30 minutes are permitted without applying for them, as long as there is no indication that the shorter period poses a hardship to employees. A 20-minute meal period is only allowed under unusual circumstances and only after the Department investigates and issues a permit. There are certain situations in which it is common for an employee to eat on the job without being relieved when only one person is on duty, and there is only one person in a particular job. If an employee volunteers to accept this arrangement, this will be treated as compliant, but employers are supposed to give a non-disrupted meal period to each employee who asks for a meal period.

Contact a Skillful Wage and Hour Lawyer in New York City

It is expensive to live in New York, and it is crucial that you be paid the full wages to which you are entitled. If you experience wage and hour violations on the job in New York City or Long Island, you should call the skillful employment litigators at Gerstman Schwartz at (212) 227-7070 or contact us via our online form.

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