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New York Labor Laws

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There are a few labor laws in New York state that go beyond the federal mandates on employers. These differences are mostly related to wages, but many are also related to the length of a workday. There are also many specific laws protecting workers against discrimination and harassment. It is important to look at each of these issues on their own individual merits to understand the unique labor laws of New York state.


The minimum wage in New York State is $7.25 an hour, which is identical to the federal minimum wage standard. Some states go beyond the federal standard to create their own state-wide minimum wage. Oregon is one such state, with a minimum wage of $8.80 an hour. New York has opted to retain those federal standards.

New York is also a state where certain classes of workers are not covered by the standard minimum wage laws. For example, restaurant servers have a minimum wage of $4.65 an hour because they are making tips. New York state also allows employers to pay an adjusted income based off of extra perks. For example, if food and lodging are provided by the employer, then her or she may pay workers lower than standard minimum wage.

Workday and Workweek Regulations

There is no limit of hours an employee can legally work in one day in New York. There is no provision allowing for overtime pay for working more than 8 hours in one day. However, there are weekly hour requirements that can automatically qualify an employee for overtime pay.

The defined work week in New York state is 40 hours for non-residential employees and 44 hours for residential employees. Residential employees are defined as employees who live at their place of work, such as live-in home care aides. If an employee works for a number of hours that goes beyond these standards, he or she is guaranteed a minimum of 1.5 times their hourly rate. The higher hourly rate will only be applied to hours worked beyond the standardized work week.

Discrimination and Harassment Laws

New York’s laws on discrimination go a little further than the federal regulations do. The regulations in New York state do not allow employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of any legal activity conducted outside of work. If an employer stumbles across and employee’s page on a social networking site, he or she cannot discriminate against the employee based off of pictures or commentary on the site. However, this changes if the employee is mentioning or otherwise associating his or herself with the company outside of working hours. An employer cannot discriminate against an employee for any actions, affiliations, or activities taken on by the employee outside of work.

Government Offices

If employees feel that these laws are being violated by an employer, he or she is encouraged to contact the New York State Department of Labor. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against people who file complaints. If retaliation occurs, New York state allows for civil damages to be pursued in court.

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