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A Layman’s Guide to New York State Employment Rights

As an employee in the State of New York, you have the right to expect certain things from your employer.

You might have negotiated certain rights through an individual contract. You might be part of a union that does the negotiating on your behalf. There are federal laws in place to also protect employee rights.

You should also expect that New York state employment rights are in place to protect your interests as an employee.

Read on to learn about some of these New York state employee rights.

Wages and Hours

If you get yourself to work every day you want to know what you will be paid for showing up. You also want to make sure your employer is abiding by those laws.

In New York, there are minimum wage laws in place. These laws include:

  • New York City employees must be paid at least $15 per hour
  • Long Island and Westchester County currently between $13 and $14 per hour
  • Long Island and Westchester County must be to $15 by December 31, 2021
  • Rest of New York state is between $11.80 and $12.50

Outside of New York City, Long Island and Westchester County must reach $12.50 per hour by December 31, 2020.

Workers who work more than 40 hours per week as an hourly employee should be paid 1 1/2 times their normal pay rate. So, if you currently make $15 per hour and work over the 40 hours, your pay rate jumps to $22.50 per hour for hours above 40 hours.

If part of your pay scale is made in tips, the laws are different and employers may not have to pay you the minimum wage listed here.

Workplace Expectations

Workers should be able to go into work and expect a safe and healthy workplace. Your employer must create a safe workplace for you to perform your job.

You should expect to be given a 30-minute break if you work a minimum of 6 hours. However, your employer does not have to pay you for this break.

Employees should also expect their employers to create a discrimination-free work environment. This includes things like:

  • Age
  • Alienage or Citizenship Status
  • Disability or Perceived Disability
  • Sex, Gender, or Gender Identity
  • Marital or Partnership Status
  • National Origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Race
  • Religion/Creed
  • Sexual Orientation

Employees also have the right to join with other employees or the right to organize to address workplace concerns without the worry of retaliation.

Worker Benefits

Employers are not required to offer employees health insurance benefits. The Affordable Care Act does inflict tax penalties on employers who have more than 50 employees if they don’t offer health insurance benefits.

The State of New York also requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. NY workers comp benefits help to protect both you and the employer’s rights if you are injured or become ill on the job.

New York does not require employers to offer sick time to employees. There are a few exceptions.

If you work in New York City for more than 80 hours per year, you can earn up to 40 hours of sick leave a year.

Federal law also allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave time through FMLA laws.

Understanding Your New York State Employment Rights

If you are a worker in New York, it’s important that you know your rights. Understanding New York state employment rights can make sure you are paid correctly, safe on the job and can perform your job as expected.

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