Home /Blogs/New York Labor Law – The Ultimate Guide
June 19, 2024 | EmploymentGeneralNew York

New York Labor Law – The Ultimate Guide

post image

Here is a comprehensive guide—our so-called “ultimate guide”—to many issues laborers, employers, employees and freelancers may face in the course of their work.  Labor law encompasses a vast web of rights and responsibilities that those in the workforce should be cautious and mindful of when entering the field.  Our page offers a quick glance at the issues that are most relevant for New York workers.

Worker’s Rights in New York

In New York, workers are protected under a robust set of labor laws that establish fair treatment in the workplace.  These laws cover various aspects of employment such as minimum wage, sick leave, overtime, discrimination-free workplace policies, work breaks and vacation days as well as safety and health regulations.

Minimum Wage

New York State established minimum wage rates that employers must follow so that workers receive fair compensation for their labor.  As of 2024, the minimum wage varies depending on the region within the state and the size of the employer.  However, all workers are entitled to at least the minimum wage for every hour worked.  The New York Department of Labor offers a Minimum Wage Look-up Tool to check what wage an employee should be earning.

Sick & Safe Leave

Workers in New York are entitled to sick and safe leave.  Laborers have the right to take time off from work for their own illness or to care for a sick family member without fear of retaliation.  Employers are required to provide a certain amount of paid or unpaid leave depending on the size of the company and other factors outlined in NY state law and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).


Overtime laws in New York mandate that certain employees receive additional compensation for hours worked beyond a standard 40-hour workweek.  Overtime pay must be at least one and a half times the regular rate of pay for each additional hour worked.  Certain exceptions could apply based on the nature of the job, the employee’s salary, and the employee’s classification.

Discrimination-Free Workplace

New York and/or federal labor laws prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, disability, and sexual orientation, as well on many other characteristics.  Employers are required to provide equal employment opportunities and maintain a workplace free from harassment and discrimination and retaliation for engaging in protected activity such as complaining about discrimination.  Our firm covers a wide range of discrimination-related cases.  For more information on our areas of expertise, visit here.

Work Breaks & Days of Rest

Workers in New York are entitled to specific rest breaks and days off depending on the length of their shift and other factors outlined in state regulations.  These breaks ensure that employees have adequate time to rest and recharge during their workday and workweek.  Generally, employers are required to give employees working over six hours at least 30 minutes of unpaid leave.  For more information, visit our page here.

Safety & Health in the Workplace

Federal and New York State laws place a strong emphasis on workplace safety and health regulations to protect workers from hazards and injuries.  Employers are required to provide a safe working environment, adequate training, and necessary safety equipment to prevent accidents and ensure employee well-being. 

Specific Worker Protections

New York labor laws also include specific protections for various categories of workers, including military employees, fast food workers, domestic workers, immigrant workers, child laborers, apparel industry workers, and freelancers.

Military Employees

Military employees in New York are entitled to certain protections and benefits, including job protection during periods of military service and reemployment rights upon return from duty.

Fast Food Workers

Fast food workers in New York are covered by specific labor laws that address issues such as minimum wage, scheduling practices, and opportunities for advancement within the industry.

Domestic Workers

Domestic workers, including nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers, are protected by New York labor laws that establish minimum wage, overtime, and other workplace rights specific to the domestic employment sector.

Immigrant Workers

Immigrant workers in New York are entitled to the same workplace rights and protections as other employees, regardless of immigration status.  Employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers based on their immigration status and must comply with state and federal employment laws.

Child Labor

New York labor laws include strict regulations regarding the employment of minors, including restrictions on working hours, types of work, and conditions for employment to ensure the safety and well-being of young workers.

Apparel Industry Workers

Workers in the apparel industry in New York are covered by specific labor laws that address issues such as minimum wage, overtime, and workplace safety standards tailored to the unique challenges of the garment manufacturing sector.


Freelancers in New York are protected by the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which establishes certain rights and protections for freelance workers, including the right to written contracts, timely payment, and protection against nonpayment and retaliation.  Those who violate these rights may face penalties including statutory damages, double damages, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees.  For more information on freelancers and independent contractors, visit our page here. 

Possible Penalties For Businesses Violating NY Labor Laws

Businesses found in violation of New York labor laws may face penalties including fines, back wages owed to employees, and potential legal action.  Repeat offenders or those found guilty of severe violations may face more severe consequences, including business closure or criminal charges.

Contact an Experienced New York Employment Attorney Today

If you have questions about your rights as a worker in New York or need assistance with a labor law issue, speak with a member of our team for next steps.

Contributions to this blog by Katherine Baeppler.


Photo by Damon Rice on Unsplash
Share This