Table of contents
  1. Wage and Hour Laws
  2. Employee Compensation and Benefits
  3. Workplace Rights and Protections
  4. Child Labor Laws
  5. Workplace Safety and Health
  6. Labor Union Regulations
  7. Employment Contracts and Severance
  8. Additional Laws That Might Apply to You
  9. Navigating Legal Issues and Resources
  10. Disclaimer

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Wage and Hour Laws

Exempt Pay Requirements

New York maintains its own salary threshold requirements for employees to be exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. 

These requirements exceed the salary threshold requirements in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). New York law follows the other FLSA requirements without adjustment.

The New York salary threshold depends on the employee’s work location within the state.

Work LocationMinimum Weekly SalaryMinimum Annual Salary
New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties$1,125$58,500
Remainder of New York state$1,064.25$55,341

Any employee earning less than these thresholds is non-exempt. All non-exempt employees must be paid minimum wage and overtime as outlined below.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in New York varies by state area, with higher wage requirements in New York City and certain counties. 

The following minimum wage requirements apply for all employees other than fast food employees based on the area where they perform work.

Work LocationMinimum Hourly Wage
New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties$15 
Remainder of New York state$14.20 

Fast food employees are entitled to a minimum wage of $15 per hour statewide, including in New York City. 

Minimum wage requirements were last adjusted in December 2022 as part of a law moving toward a $15 per hour statewide minimum wage.

Public health laws have also set minimum wage requirements for home health aides. These employees are subject to varying minimum hourly wages based on the area where they perform work.

Work LocationMinimum Hourly Wage
New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties$17
Remainder of New York state$16.20 

Exclusions from New York’s minimum wage

Most employees are entitled to New York’s minimum wage requirements. However, the law provides specific exclusions for the following employees:

  • Outside salespersons
  • Taxicab drivers
  • Government employees
  • Part-time babysitters
  • Ministers and religious order members
  • Volunteers and learners working in nonprofits
  • Students gaining vocational experience
  • Non-employee independent contractors

Tipped Minimum Wage

Employers in New York can meet minimum wage requirements for service and hospitality roles by combining the employee’s cash wage with a tip credit. This accounts for tips the employee receives from customers.

Food service employees

Food service workers’ wages must exceed the minimum wage when combining total tips received and cash wages paid by the employer. Tip credits can’t be used for fast food workers, even if they receive tips. 

Employers may include the following tip credits in wage calculations depending on the location where work is performed:

Work LocationHourly Cash WageTip Credit
New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties$10$5
Remainder of New York state$9.45$4.75

Hospitality employees

Before using a tip credit for a hospitality employee, a New York employer must ensure that the employee’s average weekly tips exceed a specific threshold. This threshold must be higher than the tip credit amount. If the employee’s average weekly tips don’t exceed the threshold, the employer cannot calculate the employee’s wages using a tip credit.

The tip credit an employer may use in wage calculations varies by area. The following cash wage, maximum tip credit, and tip threshold requirements apply to service employees not employed at resort hotels:

Work LocationHourly Cash WageTip CreditTip Threshold
New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties$12.50$2.50$3.25
Remainder of New York state$11.85$2.35$3.05

The following cash wage, maximum tip credit, and tip threshold requirements apply for service workers employed at resort hotels:

Work LocationHourly Cash WageTip CreditTip Threshold
New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties$12.50$2.50$8.40
Remainder of New York state$11.85$2.35$7.95

Overtime Laws

New York law follows the FLSA in requiring overtime pay for any time an employee works over 40 hours a week. 

Overtime must be paid at 1.5 times the employee’s standard rate. The employee’s regular rate may not be lower than the applicable minimum wage.

Exemptions from Overtime Laws

The following occupations are exempt from overtime pay requirements:

  • Outside salespeople
  • Government employees
  • Farm laborers
  • Volunteers, interns and apprentices
  • Taxicab drivers
  • Members of religious orders
  • Employees of religious or charitable institutions
  • Camp counselors
  • Employees of student or faculty associations
  • Part-time babysitters

Meal Breaks

New York requires employers to provide unpaid meal breaks for employees, separated into the following categories:

  • All factory employees. Factory employees are entitled to a 60-minute meal break for the midday meal period.
  • Day shift employees. Non-factory employees who work more than 6 hours in a shift that extends over the midday period (between 11 am and 2 pm) must be given a 30-minute break during that midday period.
  • Evening shift employees. Non-factory employees who work more than six hours in a shift that starts between 1 pm and 6 am must be given a 45-minute break midway through their shift.

Additional breaks are required for some workers whose shift spans multiple meal times. Non-factory employees who start work before 11 am and work past 7 pm on the same shift must receive an extra 20-minute break between 5 pm and 7 pm.

Rest Breaks

New York law mandates meal breaks as described above. It doesn’t require employers to grant other rest breaks to most employees. 

New York employers are only obligated to pay employees for their hours worked. Those who offer additional rest breaks don’t have to pay for break time.

However, employers must offer reasonable unpaid break time each day for employees who need to express breast milk. The employee may also choose to use any regular paid break or meal time for this purpose.


Payroll records in New York must include:

  • Hours worked by work week, separating regular and overtime hours.
  • Rates of pay, including overtime rate when applicable.
  • Gross wages.
  • Deductions.
  • Allowances, such as tip credits.
  • Sick leave provided.
  • Prevailing wage supplements.
  • Net wages.

Employers must keep payroll records for a minimum of 6 years

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Employee Compensation and Benefits

Final Paycheck Laws

Employers must issue a final paycheck through their normal payment methods. They must provide the final paycheck no later than the regular payday for the date the employee was terminated. 

Employees can request their employers to send the final paycheck by mail.

Failing to pay final wages is a criminal offense in New York. A first violation is a misdemeanor, while a second violation within 6 years is charged as a felony. The maximum penalty for failing to pay wages is 1 year and 1 day in prison, plus a fine of $20,000.

Reporting Time Pay

Other than hospitality industry employees, any non-exempt employees called in for work by the employer’s request or permission must be paid call-in pay

Pay is due for at least 4 hours, or the hours in the employee’s shift, whichever is less. Call-in pay must meet or exceed minimum wage and is due whether the employee stays at work or is sent home.

Non-exempt hospitality industry employees are subject to different call-in pay rules. When these employees are called in for work, they must be paid their regular or overtime wage rate, minus any tip credit, for any time actually worked. Call-in pay for time not worked must meet or exceed minimum wage. 

The number of call-in pay hours due to a hospitality industry employee must either exceed the regularly scheduled shift or be:

  • 3 hours for 1 shift.
  • 6 hours for 2 shifts that total 6 hours or less.
  • 8 hours for 3 shifts that total 8 hours or less.

Call-in pay is due for either the regularly scheduled shift or the lesser of the amounts listed above. Exempt employees aren’t subject to call-in pay laws.

Employee Scheduling Laws

New York doesn’t have laws regulating employee schedules. 

However, New York City has adopted regulations that apply to retail and fast food employees in the city. 

NYC retail employers

Retail employers with 20 or more employees in New York City may not:

  • Require employees to be on-call.
  • Cancel shifts with less than 72 hours’ notice to the employee.
  • Require employees to report to work with less than 72 hours’ notice.

Employers can allow employees to swap shifts, even if the swap occurs less than 72 hours before the shift.

Retail employers must also post a notice of the retail workers’ rights under this regulation. It must be posted where employees can easily see it at each workplace.

NYC fast food employers

Fast food employers with employees in New York City:

  • Must give workers regular schedules that stay the same week-to-week.
  • Must give workers work schedules 14 days before the start of the schedule.
  • Must allow workers to say no to extra work or back-to-back shifts that go from closing one day to opening the next.
  • Must allow current workers to work more regular hours before hiring new employees.
  • Cannot fire or reduce a worker’s hours by more than 15% without just cause or a legitimate business reason.
  • Must reinstate laid-off employees by seniority when hours become available.

Fast food employers must also pay a premium when employee schedules are changed or employees work back-to-back shifts that go from closing one day to opening the next. (These are called “clopening” shifts in the regulation.)

Premiums for schedule changes accrue based on the amount of notice to the employee and the impact on the employee’s hours.

Amount of noticePremium for additional hoursPremium for no impact on hoursPremium for reduced hours
<14 days$10 per change$10 per change$20 per change
<7 days$15 per change$15 per change$45 per change
<24 hours$15 per change$15 per change$75 per change

Fast food employees have the right to reject clopening shifts. Employees who agree to work a clopening shift are entitled to a $100 premium per shift.

Fast food employers must also post a notice of the fast food workers’ rights under this regulation. Notices must be posted where employees can easily see them at each workplace.

Payday Frequency and Method

Labor law in New York sets the required pay frequency for many employees in the state. 

Employees who perform manual labor jobs must be paid weekly and not more than 7 days after the pay was earned. 

Large employers of manual workers may apply for a variance that allows them to pay less frequently than weekly, subject to approval by the New York Department of Labor

To qualify for a variance, the employer must show:

  • They have employed an average of 1,000 or more employees in New York in the past 3 years, or
  • They have employed an average of 1,000 or more employees in New York in the past year, and have employed an average of 1,000 or more employees outside of New York in the past 3 years.

Employers who meet this criteria must also show proof of financial stability to meet payroll responsibilities. 

New York employers must pay commission salespeople in accordance with any commission pay contract. They must be paid at least once each month. Pay is due no later than the last day of the month after the month the wages were earned.

Clerical and other workers in New York must be paid at least twice per month. 

The pay frequency law does not cover the following types of employees:

  • Federal, state, and local government employees
  • An executive, administrative, or professional employee who earns over $900 a week

These employees may be paid on any pay frequency cycle agreed between the employer and employee.

Paystub Requirements

New York employers must give each worker a pay stub with every payment of wages. Pay stubs must include:

  • Dates of work covered by the wage payment (pay period).
  • Employee name.
  • Employer name, address, and phone number.
  • Rates of pay.
  • Hours worked.
  • Gross wages.
  • Deductions from wages.
  • Allowances, such as tip credits.
  • Net wages.

Employers may provide an electronic pay stub instead of paper pay stubs as long as they also offer paper pay stubs or provide a workplace computer and printer where employers can view and print their pay stubs. 

Wage Deductions and Garnishments

Employers can deduct or garnish an employee’s wages only under limited circumstances

Deductions are allowed when:

  • They’re made by law or rule. This can include deductions for taxes, child support payments, or pre-tax contributions to plans approved by the IRS.  
  • They’re voluntary, for the employee’s benefit, and authorized by the employee in writing. This can include deductions for insurance premiums, union dues, or corporate gym memberships. 
  • The employer overpays the employee due to a clerical error.
  • The employer advances wages to the employee. The advance can’t charge interest, and the employee must agree to it in writing.

Employers are prohibited from deducting from employee wages for: 

  • Convenience to the employee, such as the employer charging to cash the employee’s paycheck.
  • Employee purchases of work equipment such as uniforms or tools.
  • Fines or penalties for misconduct.
  • Employer losses, such as cash shortages or equipment breaking.

Workers’ Compensation

New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law applies to most employers in the state. Unlike several other states, there are no industry exceptions for agriculture or domestic workers. 

Workers’ compensation insurance is intended to compensate employees who have suffered an injury or illness in the workplace that wasn’t self-inflicted or suffered due to intoxication.

Employers can obtain workers’ compensation insurance through an approved private insurance carrier, the State Insurance Fund, or self-insuring. 

Employers who wish to become self-insured must apply for that status. They must also:

  • Have been in business in an authorized form for at least 3 years.
  • Prove they currently hold workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Have no outstanding business compliance penalties.
  • Hold an acceptable business rating when they apply. This can be a Moody’s rating of A3 or S&P rating of A-.
  • Provide evidence of tangible net worth equivalent to 7 times the higher value between the 3-year average gross claims payments and the annual premium paid.
  • Provide audited financial statements, including an auditor’s opinion statement.
  • Maintain an accident-prevention safety program.

Employees who have experienced a workplace injury or illness should report the incident to their supervisor within 30 days. Failing to notify the employer within 30 days can cause the employee to lose benefits.

Once an employee provides notice of an injury or illness, the employer must notify their insurance carrier within 10 days of the injury or illness if the employee needs medical care or misses work. 

Claims can be completed online, by mail, or in person at a Workers’ Compensation Board Office. The Workers’ Compensation Board reviews claims and issues a claim decision in contested cases.

Unemployment Insurance

Employers in New York become liable to provide unemployment insurance depending upon their business type. 

  • General businesses are liable when they pay $300 or more in remuneration or when they take over business from a liable employer.
  • Nonprofits are liable when they pay remuneration of $1,000 or more or when they employ 4 or more workers on at least 1 day in each of 20 different work weeks in the prior calendar year.
  • Household employers are liable when they pay remuneration of $500 or more.
  • Agriculture employers are liable when they pay $300 or more or when they take over business from a liable employer.
  • Government employers and Native American tribes are liable when they pay an employee any remuneration.

Workers may qualify for unemployment benefits if they:

  • Were employed for at least 2 calendar quarters in the past year. 
  • Earned at least $3,100 in 1 calendar quarter (base amount for 2023). 
  • Lost work through no fault of their own.
  • Are willing and actively looking to take on new work. 

Eligible workers are paid benefits weekly in an amount based on their prior earnings. The amount and frequency of prior earnings impact the benefit amount. Employees can estimate their available benefits with this calculator.  

The New York Department of Labor also publishes a detailed Unemployment Insurance Employer Guide

Workplace Rights and Protections

Discrimination and Harassment

The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on a job applicant or employee’s:

  • Creed.
  • Color.
  • Race.
  • National origin.
  • Age.
  • Sex.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Gender identity or expression.
  • Military status.
  • Disability.
  • Genetic characteristics.
  • Familial status.
  • Marital status.
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence.

The law also bars employers from taking disciplinary action against an employee for opposing discriminatory practices or filing a complaint. 

Employees can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights. Complaints must be filed no later than 1 year after the most recent act of alleged discrimination.

New York City

The New York City Human Rights Law provides additional worker protections for employees in the city. 

In addition to prohibited discrimination under state and federal law, the NYC Human Rights law prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Citizenship status.
  • Pregnancy and lactation accommodations.
  • Arrest or conviction records.
  • Caregiver status.
  • Credit history.
  • Unemployment status.
  • Sexual and reproductive health decisions.
  • Salary history.
  • Status as a victim of stalking or sex offenses.

Employees can file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Complaints must be filed within 1 year of the most recent act of alleged discrimination. For alleged gender-based harassment, complaints must be filed within 3 years.


New York state requires all employers to conduct sexual harassment training each calendar year. 

New York City also requires employers with 15 or more employees to conduct sexual harassment training each year. Employers who provide training in line with the New York City requirements will also be deemed compliant with the state’s requirements. 

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Leave Laws

Leave TypeCovered by NY Law?Leave Law Details
X Family and Medical LeaveNoEmployers must follow federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requirements. 
If an employer adopts a policy or offers an employment contract providing paid or unpaid family and medical leave, it must follow the policy or contract terms. 
✔ Paid Sick LeaveYesEach calendar year:
Employers with 0-4 employees and less than $1 million net income must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave.Employers with 5-99 employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave.Employers with 100+ employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave.
✔ Paid Family LeaveYesEmployers must provide paid leave to eligible employees for new child bonding, caring for an ill family member, or assisting family members following a military deployment.
Effective 2023, paid family leave also applies when caring for a sibling with a serious health condition.
X Family Bereavement LeaveNoIf an employer adopts a policy or offers an employment contract providing paid or unpaid bereavement leave, it must follow the policy or contract terms. 
X Military LeaveNoNew York employers must follow the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1995 (USERRA) requirements.
✔ Jury Duty LeaveYesEmployers may not penalize or discharge employees for taking a leave of absence for jury duty if the summoned employee notifies the employer in advance. 
Employers with 10 or more employees must pay the first $40 of an employee’s daily wages during the first 3 days of jury duty.
✔ Voting LeaveYesEmployers must allow employees up to 2 hours without loss of pay to vote if they lack 4 consecutive non-work hours while polls are open. 
✔ Pregnancy and Parental LeaveYesEmployers must provide paid family leave to full-time employees who work at least 20 hours per week for 26 or more consecutive weeks. 
An eligible employee can take up to 12 weeks of parental leave per calendar year. 
X Vacation and Personal LeaveNoIf an employer adopts a policy or offers an employment contract providing paid or unpaid personal or vacation leave, it must follow the policy or contract terms. 
✔ Paid COVID-19 Vaccine LeaveYesEmployers must provide employees with a sufficient period, not exceeding 4 hours, of paid leave to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 
The paid leave requirement is per dose and also applies for boosters.

Child Labor Laws

New York’s child labor law applies to minors under 18. The law limits the hours a minor may work, requires school attendance, and requires minors to obtain working papers to hold a job in the state. 

Minors must be 14 or older to work in most occupations, with some exceptions for permitted farm workers and child performers. Employers cannot employ any minors in dangerous working conditions, including logging occupations, mining, and dangerous machine operations. 

Working hours are heavily restricted for minors—and more so for those under 16. 

Minors aged 16 or 17 cannot work between 10 pm and 12 am on a day before a school day unless they obtain a parent or guardian’s written permission and a school certificate confirming the minor is in good academic standing. 

Minors under 16 cannot work:

  • Between 7 pm and 7 am after Labor Day to June 20.
  • Between 9 pm and 7 am from June 21 to Labor Day.

Minors under 16 also are also prohibited in most occupations from working:

  • More than 3 hours on any school day.
  • More than 8 hours on a non-school day.
  • More than 18 hours in any week.
  • More than 6 days in any week.

No minor may work during public school hours, even if they’re home-schooled. 

Exceptions and modifications apply to these hourly restrictions in some situations.

Violations of New York child labor laws can result in civil penalties of up to $1,000 for a first violation, $2,000 for a second violation, and $3,000 for additional violations.

Workplace Safety and Health

New York doesn’t provide detailed legal guidance for workplace safety and health. It follows the federal law requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). All New York employers must meet or exceed ‌OSH Act requirements.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for administering the OSH Act requirements. New York employers are responsible for following all of the OSH Act recordkeeping and reporting rules.

Employees who believe they have encountered a violation of OSH Act rules can make a report online. Alternatively, violations can be reported to a New York OSHA office.

Female factory and store workers

New York law prohibits female employees from working in a factory or store within 4 weeks of childbirth unless they provide a doctor’s note indicating they can perform the work and a letter stating they wish to return to work.

Labor Union Regulations

New York is not a right-to-work state, meaning employers can require employees to join a union and pay membership dues as a condition of employment. 

Employees are typically required to become union members when their compensation and benefits are negotiated as part of a collective agreement for all similar employees by the union.

Labor disputes are handled as laid out in a collective bargaining agreement. Disputes may also be referred to the New York branch of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Employment Contracts and Severance

Employment Contract Laws

New York is an “at-will” employment state.

This means an employer or employee can terminate employment for any reason or no reason, so long as the termination isn’t otherwise contrary to law. 

Exceptions to this rule include:

Termination can violate public policy when a legal violation substantially endangers public health or safety. In January 2022, new legislation broadened the scope of public policy violations to include situations where an employer’s policy or practice led the employee to reasonably believe a violation of law had occurred. 

Non-compete agreements may soon be illegal in New York. In June 2023, the New York legislature passed a ban on non-compete clauses. The Governor hasn’t signed the bill as of August 2023, so it isn’t yet state law. The law wouldn’t ban existing non-compete clauses signed before the law took effect.

Non-solicitation agreements are allowed in New York. However, they’re often subject to challenge if they prevent an employee from practicing their trade or specialty.

Severance Pay

There’s no legal requirement for New York employers to provide severance pay. 

There are also no state laws for what a severance pay package must include. Employers offering severance pay by contract or employee policies must honor that agreement. 

Employees who need guidance on severance pay offers from their employer should refer to company policies or seek legal advice. 

Additional Laws That Might Apply to You

New York City AI Regulations

In 2023, New York City adopted the first US-based regulations of AI-driven hiring tools. The regulations apply only to New York City residents being considered for work in New York City. 

The regulations prohibit employers or employment agencies from using an automated employment decision tool (AEDT) for employment decisions unless the tool is subjected to an annual audit for bias. Employers must also publish a summary of each audit and notify all applicants and employees subject to AEDT screening.

Wage Transparency

New York enacted a statewide pay transparency law in 2023. It will take effect on September 17, 2023

The law applies to all work that will be physically performed in the state or jobs that will report to a supervisor, office, or work site in the state. 

Employers will be required to disclose the compensation or range of compensation in any job advertisement. Employers must also disclose the job description for the position (if one exists). 

New York City previously enacted its own regulations requiring employers to include a good faith pay range in all job advertisements for positions that would be performed in the city.

Cannabis (Marijuana) Drug Testing

Employers are prohibited from using drug testing to determine whether an employee is impaired by cannabis. 

Employers can prohibit cannabis use during work hours and may take disciplinary action if an employee shows objective signs of impairment.

Lactation Accommodation

Employers must provide reasonable unpaid break time each day for employees who need to express breast milk. The employee may also choose to use any regular paid break or meal time for this purpose. 

The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a private space close to the employee’s work area for them to express breast milk.


New York State and New York City prohibit smoking and electronic cigarette usage in most workplaces. “No smoking” signs must be posted in all areas where smoking is prohibited.

Whistleblower Protection

New York’s whistleblower law provides broad protection to employees, former employees, and independent contractors. The law prohibits retaliation when a report is made about any activity, policy, or practice that the reporter reasonably believes violates any law or regulation. 

Proof of an actual legal violation isn’t required for the protection to apply.

Whistleblowers have a right to file a civil lawsuit against employers for retaliation related to whistleblowing. The employee must file the civil lawsuit within 2 years of the employer’s action. 

The New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act) mandated workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers were required to implement workplace safety plans for airborne infectious disease prevention. 

The NY HERO Act requirements were suspended in 2022. As of August 2023, they haven’t been reinstated. 

Assistance and further resources regarding labor laws in New York are available through the following state and city government agencies:

In addition, the Legal Aid Society is a nonprofit that offers free legal advice to workers in New York. 

New York labor laws are complex and sometimes conflict between city, state, and federal laws. An attorney is your best resource to fully understand employer obligations and employee rights. 


The information presented on this website about New York labor laws in the United States is intended to be accurate and informative. However, laws and regulations can change and may vary depending on individual circumstances. While we have made every effort to ensure the information provided is up-to-date and reliable, we cannot guarantee its completeness or accuracy. Therefore, we strongly recommend that readers seek guidance from their legal department or a qualified attorney to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Please note that we cannot be held liable for any actions taken or not taken based on the information presented on this website.

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