NYS Labor Laws

In order to understand NYS Labor Laws, you first must know what they are. New York is a state with many Labor Laws.

NYS Pay Rate

The minimum wage in New York is dependent on the number of employees an employer has and the location where those employees are employed to work. New York State compels employers to state what pay an employee will be paid, some examples would be hourly, daily, weekly or monthly pay and if it is an hourly rate or annual salary, the company must state how many hours that the rate covers. Interestingly, New York doesn’t allow employers to compensate a non-hourly rate to employees who are non-exempt in industries like hospitality, like hotels, except for those employees who get paid for sales as a commission.

NYS Overtime Wage

Overtime must be paid by an employer unless that employee is otherwise exempt, at the rate of 1.5 times that employee’s usual stated rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week.

NYS One Day of Rest in Seven

Certain employers in New York are required to offer employees with at least 24 successive hours rest in a workweek.  These employers include those running hotels, mercantile establishments, factories, and restaurants. Additional employers are sometimes covered as well, as stipulated in Section 161 of the New York State Labor Law.

NYS Foods and Breaks

Every individual employed under NY labor laws, these employers include those operating mercantile establishments, hotels, factories, and restaurants, shall be given no less than 30 minutes for the midday food break. The midday food period is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; employees are allowed a one-hour break.

Every employee who is employed with a starting time before 11 a.m. and lasting later than 7 p.m. will be allowed an extra food period of at least 20 minutes in length between 5 p.m and 7 p.m. Every employee with an assigned period of more than six hours starting between the hours of 1 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be allowed at least one hour for a food period if employed in connection with a factory or in an actual factory,  and a 45 minutes food period if employed tightly connected with a mercantile  or in an actual mercantile or other establishment cited under the provision of this particular chapter, half-way amid the beginning and end of such shift of employment.

Some states comply with the federal law, which means they don’t have food or rest breaks (but pay for all time an employee spends working, whether the employee is eating food at that time or not), but instead require employers to pay for any short breaks allowed. Other states require either food or timeout breaks, and New York is one that requires employers to provide a food break but does not require timeout breaks.

NYS Employee Coverage

Every employee in an occupation or establishment is covered by Section 162 of the New York State Labor Law. Literally all classes of workers are safeguarded by the Labor Law, including management staff and white-collar workers.

NYS Shorter Food Periods         

So long as there is no hardship to employees, the Department of Labor will allow a shorter food period of less than a half-hour as a matter of course.  And a food period of no less than 20 minutes will be allowed only in unusual or special cases after research, and a special allowance is made.

NYS One Employee Shift

Employees are allowed to eat “on the job” without someone else taking over, in some cases where only one employee is clocked in or is the only employee in a particular job, this is customary. The DOL will allow these unusual situations as compliant with Section 162 when the individual voluntarily consents to the situation; an uninterrupted food period must be given to every individual who asks this from the employer.

NYS Severance Pay

Employers are not required, in New York State, to provide separating employees with severance pay. If an employer does provide severance payments or other benefits, it must comply with the conditions of its standard employment contract or policy.

New York Consolidated Laws Definitions

  • Employer means any corporation, firm, partnership, individual, institution, or organization that employs employees.
  • Employee means an individual who does services under the direction and control of an employer (see previous definition) for pay or other consideration.
  • Regulation, rule or Law includes any ordinance or statute, or any regulation or rule decreed pursuant to any local, state, or federal ordinance or statute.
  • Public body includes any state legislature, the United States Congress, or any elected local legislative body, any local, state or federal judiciary, or any employee of it, or any petit or grand jury, any local, state or federal regulatory, administrative, or public agency or any local, state or federal law enforcement agency, prosecutorial office, or peace or police officer.
  • Retaliatory employment action means the suspension, discharge, or demotion of a worker, or other “adverse” action in regard to employment, taken against a worker.
  • Supervisor means someone in an employer's employment who has the permission to control and direct the performance of an employee or who has authority to take disciplinary action regarding the violation of the regulation, rule or law of which the worker complains.
  • Health care fraud means health care deception as described by article 177 of the penal law.
  • Prohibitions an organization who employs people cannot take any “retaliatory” employment action against a worker because the worker does any of the following: reveals, or threatens to reveal to a management official or to a community legal body a practice, policy, or activity of the employing organization  that is against the law, regulation or rule which violation creates and represents a specific and substantial hazard to the public safety or health, or which comprises health care fraud (as defined above), provides evidence or testimony to any community legal body who is performing an inquiry, investigation, or hearing into any breaking of a law, regulation or rule by the employing organization or protests to, or refuses to partake in any such activity, practice or policy in violation of a law, regulation or rule.
  • The protection against “retaliatory” employment action pertaining to revelation to a community legal body shall not pertain to a worker who makes such disclosure to a community legal body unless the worker has brought the offending practice, polity or activity in violation of regulation, rule or law to the attention of the manager of the employer and has allowed such employing organization an opportunity to modify such practice, polity or activity.
  • Violation if a worker, who has been the target of retaliatory employment action, in violation of the law, can instigates a civil suit in a court for relief within one year after the alleged retaliatory employment action was taken. This suit may be brought in the county in which the retaliatory employment action occurred, in the county in which the employer has its principal place of business, or in the county in which the complainant resides.  It shall be a defense to any action that the employment action was based on grounds other than the employee's exercise of any legally protected rights or characteristics.  It shall also be a defense if the individual was an independent contractor rather than an employee.  A health care employee who has been the subject of a retaliatory action by a health care company or employer may institute a civil action in a court of that has jurisdiction for assistance within two years after the alleged retaliatory employment action was taken.  The court may, based upon a finding that the employer acted in a manner consistent with “bad faith” in the action taken, levy the employer a civil penalty of no more than $10,000, to the Improving Quality of Patient Care Fund.
  • Relief: The court may order relief, an injunction to restrain continued law breaking, the restoration of the worker to the same position held before the retaliatory employment action, or to a comparable position, the reinstatement of full benefits and tenure rights, the pay for lost wages, benefits and the compensation by the employing organization of costs, disbursements, and attorney's feesEmployer relief: if a court decides that an action, brought by an employee or worker, was without any supporting basis in fact or law it may order that court costs and attorneys' fees and disbursements be given to an employer by the complaining employee or their representatives.

NYS Written Notice

In New York state, employees must get a written communication from employers before starting work about job elements and this document must have an authorized signature and be dated by the employee, this document should be kept on file by the employer for at least six years, a copy of this document must be given to the employee on the date of hire.

NYS Allowances

Employers are required to explain what allowances will be deducted from an employee’s pay checks, if any. This is a New York State labor law requirement. These allowances may be food, tips, lodging, or some other deductions which all must be specified.

NYS Pay Period

In New York State, labor law requires that employers must ensure that employees know the day of the week that the employee will be paid.  Employers must also outline how frequently employees will be paid, it could be twice monthly, biweekly, or weekly or even monthly.

New York Labor Law 740: NY Whistleblower Law           

New York state law, forbids employing organizations from demoting, suspending, discharging, or in any way “retaliating” against a worker because the worker, discloses to a manager, supervisor, executive or to a community legal body an illegal practice, policy or activity of the employing organization that is a specific and substantial danger to community safety or health, or which represents health care fraud.

An employee or worker, in order to obtain the safeguards conferred by the New York Whistleblower Law,  who threatens to disclose or discloses  to a manager, supervisor, executive, or to a community legal body, or who protests to or says no to participating in, a practice, policy, or activity of the employing organization or the employer’s legal agent that the employee believes establishes improper quality of care for patients is required to first bring these circumstances to the attention of a manager, supervisor, or executive and must give the employer a reasonable amount of time to correct the practice, activity, or policy which reasonably could be considered constituting improper quality of patient care. This requirement to first bring these circumstances to the attention of a manager, supervisor, or executive and must give the employer a reasonable amount of time to correct the practice, activity, or policy which reasonably could be considered constituting improper quality of patient care does not apply to a worker’s disclosure (or threatened disclosure) to a manager, supervisor, executive, or to a community legal body where the patient care represents an imminent concern for public safety or health, or the safety or health of a particular patient.  The employee must reasonably believe that disclosing this information to a manger, supervisor, or executive would not result in disciplinary or corrective action.

In order to prove a claim, a plaintiff under the Whistleblower Law must establish a couple of things:

  1. Retaliatory action was suffered
  2. Due to disclosure to a manager, supervisor, executive or public body
  3. An illegal activity
  4. Created a danger to the public

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