What is the Hourly Minimum Wage?
In the United States, an employer may not pay an hourly employee less than $7.25 an hour. Some states and municipalities have set their own minimum wage amount. The State of New York has set the minimum wage at $13.20 an hour. In New York City and in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties the minimum wage is $15.00 an hour.
New York minimum wage laws define a work week as seven consecutive 24-hour periods.
In addition, an hourly employee must be paid 1.5 times their hourly wage for any time worked beyond 40 hours in a period of seven consecutive days. So, if an hourly employee is paid $20 an hour and works for 45 hours over a consecutive seven-day period, the employee will be paid $20/hour for the first 40 hours and $30/hour for the extra five hours.
Examples of employees that may be deprived of the minimum wage or overtime pay include those that:
- are paid below the state, county, or city minimum wage;
- have been misclassified as independent contractors;
- do not have their hours properly recorded due to off-the-clock work, work that occurred off-site, missed rest or meal breaks;
- have their tips stolen or misappropriated by their employer;
- have their pay docked due to accidental damage caused by an employee; and
- are retaliated against for reporting a wage/hour violation.
An employee who is an undocumented worker, being paid off the books or paid by cash is not exempt from Wage & Hour requirements. An employer that violates these rules may be required to pay backpay, liquidated damages (twice the amount of any owed backpay) and attorney fees.
Frequency and Manner of Payment
Employers must pay employees by cash, check which may they may redeem in full without a fee or consented to direct deposit. Employers must pay each type of worker according to these individualized schedules:
- Manual Laborer: weekly and no later than seven calendar days after the end of the week in which the wages were earned, unless the employer has obtained permission from the commission to pay employees less frequently, not to exceed semi-monthly.
- Railroad Laborers: on or before Thursday of each week the wages earned during the seven-day period ending on Tuesday of the preceding week.
- Commission Salespeople: at least once per month and not later than the last day of the month following the month in which the wages were earned.
- Clerical and Other Workers: not less than semi-monthly, on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer.
Employers must supply every employee with a statement describing payment of wages which includes: the dates of work covered by the check; the employee’s name; the employer’s name; the employer’s address and phone number; the employee’s rate of pay and manner in which pay accrues (hourly, salaried, daily, weekly, monthly, piece, commission, etc.); gross wages earned; deductions; allowances such as lodging, tips, meals; net wages earned; employee’s regular hour rate of pay; overtime rate of pay; number of hours worked; number of overtime hours worked; applicable piece rate or rate of pay if the employee is paid by piece; the number of pieces completed at each piece rate if the employee is paid by piece; if the employer is a railroad corporation, the employee’s accrued total earning; taxes to date; and a listing of daily wages and how they were computed.
Hiring Notice Requirements
Upon hiring a new employee, their employer must give them notice of the following:
- Compensation Information: rate of pay; overtime rate of pay; manner in which pay accrues (hourly, salaried, daily weekly, monthly, piece, commission, etc.); any allowances the employer intends to claim as part of minimum wage (lodging, meals, tips); regular payday; and
- Employer Information: employer’s name and any name under which the employer does business; physical address and the employer’s telephone number.
In addition to this notice, employers must obtain a written acknowledgment, signed and dated by the employee, that they received the notice. The employer must also furnish a copy of this acknowledgment to their employees.
If an employer changes any of the terms or conditions listed in the above notice, they must inform the employees of the changes at least seven days prior to the changes taking effect.
Employers must also either notify their employees in writing or publicly post their policies on sick leave, vacation leave, personal leave and holiday leave and hours.
Employers must notify an employee as soon as practicable before substantially changing deductions made from employee wages. New York law does not allow employers to deduct the following from an employee’s wages: cash shortages, inventory shortages, loss or damage to property, required uniforms, required tools or other items necessary for employment.
New York law only allows employers to deduct the following from an employee’s wages:
- Repayment of salary or wage advances made by the employer.
- Deductions for overpayment of wages due to a mathematical or clerical error of the employer.
- Any of the following deductions which the employee has expressly authorized in writing:
- U.S. bonds, union dues or assessments;
- insurance premiums;
- prepaid legal fees;
- pension or health and welfare benefits;
- charitable contributions;
- purchases made at company sponsored charity events where at least 20 percent of the profits are contributed to the charity;
- discounts for parking, tokens, fare cards, vouchers, or other public transportation;
- fitness center or gym dues;
- for employees of colleges, hospitals and universities only, café or vending machine purchases made at the employee’s place of work or purchases made at gift shops operated by the employer;
- daycare and after school care expenses;
- on-site pharmacy purchases;
- for employees of non-profits hospitals and associated affiliates, payments for housing provided at no more than market rate;
- and other similar benefits which must not exceed 10 percent of the employee’s total gross wages or salary for a pay period.
Employees may revoke their written consent to any deduction at any time, and the employers must stop the deduction before the end of eight weeks or four pay periods, whichever is sooner. Employers must keep an employee’s written consent to any deduction on file, on the premises, for the duration of their employment and six years after their employment ends.
Employers must notify an employee of any change to their wage in writing at least seven days prior to the employee working hours at their new rate.
Payment Upon Separation from Employer
New York Law requires employees to notify a terminated employee of their termination, in writing, with the exact date of termination and date any benefits discontinue. Employees must receive this notice within five days of termination.
Employees Who Are Terminated by Their Employer
When an employer terminates an employee, they must pay the employee all wages due no later than the closest payday to the date of termination. Employers must mail the wages if requested by the employee. Learn more about wrongful termination.
Employees Who Quit, Resign, Are Suspended or Resign Due to Strike
New York Law does not specify when resigning or suspended employees must receive wages due. Regardless, employers should pay a resigning employee wages due by the pay period immediately following their date of resignation.
New York labor laws do not require employers to pay employees severance upon termination. If you believe you are entitled to severance based on an employment contract please see our Separation and Severance Agreements page.
If you are an employee and you feel that your employer has committed a wage & hour violation, Romano Law may be able to help. It is important to note that employers that violate these rules generally avoid doing so openly; instead, they find creative ways to discreetly deprive employees of the wages they are legally entitled to. Many employees may not even realize that they have lost thousands of dollars in wages.
For more information, please contact an experienced Romano Law employment attorney.
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