What are New York Labor Laws?
Employment or labor laws are a set of rules and regulations that codify the rights, duties, and obligations of employees, employers and labor unions into law. The core aim of labor laws is to bridge the discrepancy and gap between the bargaining power of employees and employers. Throughout the previous century, the United States of America has codified into law various guidelines that protect the social and economic rights of employees —starting with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which acts as a framework and a minimal set of guidelines for individual states within the federation to develop their own laws, rules and regulations which go above and beyond the bare necessities.
Labor Laws in New York State
The state of New York has its own separate state labor law enforced by the Division of Labor Standards. The following are the rules and regulations that employers are required to comply in New York State:
- Wage Laws: The minimum wage in the state of New York is enforced by the New York State Minimum Wage Act, which applies to all workers within the jurisdiction of the state. For New York City, the minimum wage is $13.50 per hour for businesses with less than 11 employees; and $15.00 for companies with 11 or more employees. In the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester, the minimum wage is $12.00. For other counties, the minimum wage is $11.10 per hour. Tips cannot be appropriated to the minimum wage, and are considered to be above and beyond the payment of wages. If tips are paid via credit card or direct debit to employers account, it must be paid to the employee within the next scheduled payday. The employer has the option to deduct any charges levied by the credit card company from the tips provided to the employee. Besides, employers are required to notify in writing the employer's policies on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays and hours of work.
- Rest and Meal Period: All employers are required to provide at least one day of rest for each work week. Also, a minimum of 30 minutes of meal period is to be delivered to all employees on a workday.
- Illegal Deductions: Employers are prohibited from making illegal deductions from workers wages; which include deductions for breakages, cash shortages, fines, losses to businesses and charges for direct transfer of wages as a replacement for check payment.
- Anti-Retaliation Laws: According to the New York State Labor Law, employers are prohibited from discharging, penalizing or discriminating against an employee for complaining against possible labor violation against an employer, complaining to the Labor Department or exercising any rights protected under the law above. In case the investigation staff from the Department of Labor finds an employer guilty of wrong-doing; they can assess a penalty ranging from $1000 to $20,000 or payment of lost compensation to employees.
- Child Performer Laws: Any person below 18 years of age who provides creative or artistic services in the state of New York as a performer is required to possess a Child Performer Permit; even if the service is provided for free. Exceptions to the permit include child performers at religious institutions, schools, and academies; performances at any place under the direction or supervision of the Department of Education; or amateur performances of children for less than two hours per week from studios of a regularly licensed broadcasting company which does not infringe on school timings. The payment for child performers must be transferred to a trust set up confirming to regulations laid down in the New York State Uniform Transfer to Minors Act Trust Account.