New York Labor Laws 2021

A guide to understand New York States Labor and Employment Laws 2021

New York State Labor Laws

New York State has many laws that provides greater protection to employees than the federal laws. In this article, we discuss few important labor laws which help an employee understand the laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state of New York. Ideally, an employer must comply with both federal and state law. Following are the NYS Labor Laws:

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Minimum Wage

New York State’s minimum wage varies depending on the size of the employer and location where the employees are employed to work. According to New York State labor law, employers are compelled to state what pay an employee will be paid, for eg: will the pay be hourly, weekly, monthly and if it is hourly rate or annually. Also, the employer must state how many hours that the rate covers. For more information on Minimum wage laws 2021, visit New York Minimum Wage Laws page

Overtime Wage

New York States overtime labor laws requires an employer to pay overtime to employees at the rate of one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. Refer New York Dept. of Labor’s FAQ’s PDF for more information on overtime wage requirements.

nys labor laws
One Day of Rest in Seven Rule

Certain employers in the state of New York are required to offer employees with at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in a workweek. Employers covered under this law are, hotels, restaurants, mercantile establishments and factories. However, in some cases, additional employers are covered as well as mentioned in section 161 of New York State Labor Law.

Meal Break Laws

Every individual employed under New York State’s labor law, including those employees who are employed in factories, hotels, restaurants and mercantile establishments, should be given at least 30 minutes for the midday meal break. The midday meal break period extending from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. All the employees are allowed to take a 1 hour meal break.

Every employee who’s working hours starts before 11 a.m and lasts later than 7 p.m will be allowed an extra meal break of at least 20 minutes between 5 p.m to 7 p.m. Employees working for a period of more than 6 hours starting between 1 p.m and 6 a.m, shall be allowed at least 1 hour for a meal break if employed for a factory and a 45 minutes meal break if employed with mercantile establishments or any other related occupations.

Some states in the US comply with federal law, which means that employers are not entitled to provide meal or rest breaks but instead pay for any short break allowed. Other states require employers to provide either meal breaks or timeout breaks, and New York State is one that requires employers to provide meal break but does not require timeout breaks.

One Employee Shift Rule

Some particular job may require only one employee on duty, in such scenarios, it is customary for employers to allow the employee to eat on the job without someone else taking over. The Dept. of Labor will allow these unique situations as compliant with Section 162, when the employee voluntarily consents to the arrangements. However, an uninterrupted meal break must be provided to every employee who asks this from the employer.

Shorter Meal Period

Under New York Department of Labor, a shorter meal period of less than 30 minutes is permitted, without application by the employer, as long as there is no indication of hardship to the employees. Also, meal period of no less than 20 minutes will be allowed to employees only in certain special cases and special allowance is made.

Vacation Leave

Under New York Labor Laws, an employer is not required to provide employees with paid or unpaid vacation benefits. However, if an employer chooses to provide such a benefit then it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract as per New York labor law section 198-c

Sick Leave

Under New York Labor Laws, an employer is not required to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits then it must comply with the terms of employment contract or established policy. However, in New York City, employer may be required to provide employees with unpaid sick leave in accordance with the federal laws or Family and Medical Leave Act. The new sick leave law is in addition to state provisions already in effect providing paid sick time due to COVID-19.

new york state labor laws 2019
Holiday Leave

New York State Law does not require an employer to provide its employees with holiday leave either paid or unpaid holiday leave. However, in New York City, a private employer may require an employee to work on holidays, in such scenarios, the employer may not be obliged to pay the employee premium wage, ie., one and a half times the regular rate for working on holidays unless the time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide holiday leave benefits then it must comply with the terms of employment contract or established policy.

Jury Duty Leave

Under New York Labor Law of 2021, an employer who employs more than 10 employees must pay first $40 of the employees regular daily wages for the first 3 days of jury service. In all the other instances, the employer is not required to pay an employee for the time spent serving on a jury.

According to the New York Judiciary Code 519, an employer may not penalize or discharge an employee who is summoned to serve as a juror provided he/she notifies the employer prior to the commencement of the term of service.

Severance Pay

Under the New York State labor laws, employers are not required to provide separating employees with severance pay. A severance pay is the compensation that an employee receives when he/she is released from employment by the employer. If an employer chooses to severance payments or other benefits then it must comply with the terms of employment contract or policy.

Bereavement Leave

New York State law does not require employers to provide employee bereavement leave. A leave taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative is called bereavement leave. If an employer chooses to provide bereavement leave then they may be required to comply with the terms of bereavement policy or practice it maintains.

Paid Family Leave

Starting from January 1, 2021, the amount of paid family leave available to eligible employees under the state’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) law will increase from 10 weeks to 12 weeks of leave. Wage replacement benefits under this law will also increase in 2021 from 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage (capped at $840.70) to 67% of the average weekly wage (capped at $971.61).

The state’s Paid Family Leave law provides eligible employees with paid time-off to bond with newly born, fostered or adopted children; help loved ones when a spouse, child, parent or domestic partner is deployed abroad on active military service. This law also provides job protection and continued health insurance.

Topics Related to other New York Overtime Laws


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