New York Labor Laws

Updated: 03/17/2020

New York Minimum Wage

As of December 21, 2019, employers in New York City must pay $15 per hour, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester county employers must pay $13 per hour, and the rest of the state must pay $11.80 per hour. Annual increases are scheduled until the entire state reaches a $15 per hour minimum wage.

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History of New York Labor Laws

New York's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911 changed the direction of the entire United States' labor policy.

Labor-rights activist Frances Perkins fought for reforms for safety, was appointed New York State Commissioner of Labor in 1929, and became the United States Secretary of Labor in 1933. She fought for changes (workplace safety, working hour limits and sanitation) that formed the basis for many of the reforms announced as part of FDR's New Deal.

The first minimum wage law in New York was $1, set in 1960. The minimum wage for the state has increased fairly regularly with an annual or nearly annual minimum wage increase consistently through 2021 when raises will be set to a yearly review using the Consumer Price Index.

Municipality Minimum Wage Laws

While cities in New York don't generally set their own minimum wage rates, they're not expressly forbidden from doing so. However, the state does take certain cities’ economic situations into account when setting the minimum wage.

Further, in 2018, New York City passed a specific minimum wage law for app-based drivers, such as those driving for Uber. Using calculations from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, the city set a minimum wage for app-based drivers at $17.22 per hour after expenses ($26.51 per hour before expenses). This rate is considered to be equivalent to a non-contract worker earning the New York City $15 per hour minimum wage.

New York State has separate rates for New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester. Long Island is encompassed in that tri-county area. There is a third minimum wage rate for the rest of New York.

The New York City minimum wage tiers (one for large and one for small employers) have both already reached $15 per hour and will hold until 2021. The tri-county rate will reach $15 per hour in 2021.

The remainder of the state will reach $14.50 per hour at the end of 2020, and from 2021 on, increases will be based on economic indexes such as the Consumer Price Index and set by the Director of the Division of the Budget for the State of New York.

New York Minimum Wage Exemptions

New York has multiple minimum wage orders, each addressing specific industries, that set alternative minimum wage scales for workers in those industries.

Hospitality and Fast Food Worker Wage Order

This wage order covers tipped and non-tipped employees that are working in the hospitality industry.

Fast-food employees within New York City have a minimum wage of $15 per hour (as of December 31, 2018), and since December 31, 2019, those outside of New York City have a minimum wage of $13.75 per hour.

The rate for those outside New York City will rise annually until reaching $15 per hour on July 1, 2021.

Tipped employees are also covered under this order, as discussed in the Tipped Wage in New York section below.

Wage Order for Building Service Industry

This wage order covers employees in the building service industry, including janitors.

The wage rate for janitors is based on the number of units in which work is done per week. Within New York City, the rate is $10 per unit worked in, as of December 31, 2019.

For janitors in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, the rate is $8.65 per unit worked in as of December 31, 2019, with annual increases planned. For the remainder of the state, the rate is $7.85 per unit, with yearly increases expected.

A minimum salary on a weekly basis must also be met for janitors. This rate is $638.00 per week within New York City as of December 31, 2019. For employers in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, the rate is $552.95 per week, while the rest of the state has a rate of $501.90 per week. Except for within New York City, annual increases are planned.

For any building service employee, apartments provided to the employee (and utilities) may be considered part of their minimum wages with restrictions on the amount to be charged depending on the location of the apartment.

Wage order for farm workers

This wage order covers farm workers and agricultural workers under the age of 16 (discussed below in the child labor laws section) if the farm has paid out at least $3,000 to workers the previous year.

Within New York City, farm workers must be paid $15.00 per hour as of December 31, 2019. Also, as of December 31, 2019 (but with annual increases planned), those in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties have a minimum rate of $13 per hour while the rest of the state has a minimum of $11.80 per hour.

The per piece rate under this wage order must result in an hourly rate equal to or higher than the hourly minimum wage.

Some meals and lodging may be considered part of minimum wages under this order but with restrictions on amounts and whether or not the worker is a migrant worker.

Under this wage order, those participating in qualified vocational or rehabilitation programs may be paid the rates applicable to those programs instead of the wages.

Nonprofit Wage Order

This order covers nonprofits who have elected to be covered by the nonprofit wage order regardless of type of industry, business or employee job duties.

Employees of nonprofits under this wage order will be paid according to state minimum wage rules outside of wage orders. However, there are many exceptions to who is considered an employee by this wage order.

As of December 31, 2019, executives and administrative employees of nonprofits paid by salary must be paid at least $1,125 per week within New York City, $975 per week in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, and $885 per week in the rest of the state. Increases annually for areas outside of New York City are planned through 2021.

Other exemptions without separate wage tables include farm labor, salesmen, taxicab drivers, members of a religious order, learners and apprentices. Some of the exceptions have additional requirements and restrictions for qualification.

Miscellaneous industries and occupations wage order

This wage order covers anyone not covered by another minimum wage order or employees of a nonprofit who elect to opt out of the nonprofit wage order.

While the minimum wage rate is the same as the primary state minimum wage rules for those covered by this wage order, it further includes items such as allowances.

This wage order allows employers to consider meals and lodging part of the minimum wage but limits the amount charged for each toward wages. Further, it forbids companies from requiring employees to pay for their own uniform maintenance as part of minimum wage calculations.

New York Posting Requirements

New York employers must post New York's industry-specific wage orders as applicable, other state posters, and federally required posters. New York has some notifications that can be provided as posters or as written notifications individually.

These include rules on mandatory nurse overtime, fringe benefits and hours, expression of breast milk at work, the company sexual harassment policy, and a notice of payday and rate.

Required Posters:

  • Minimum Wage (English/Spanish)
  • Wage Orders as applicable
  • Fair Employment (English/Spanish)
  • Correctional Records Notice (Correction Law Article 23-A)
  • Child Labor
  • Time Off for Voting
  • No Smoking Sign
  • Smoking Permitted Sign

Additional Posters:

  • Construction Industry Fair Play Act
  • Job Safety and Health Protection
  • You Have a Right to Know
  • Fringe Benefits & Hours (Every employer shall notify its employees in writing or by publicly posting the employer's policy on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays, and hours.)
  • Workers' Compensation (Must be obtained from insurance carrier)
  • Unemployment Insurance (Must be obtained from the state)
  • Disability Benefits (Must be obtained from insurance carrier)

Tipped Wage in New York

New York allows employers to pay a cash (direct) wage and apply a tip credit to that number in order to try to reach the applicable minimum wage rate. If tip credit plus cash wage does not at least equal minimum wage, then the employer must pay the difference to the employee.

Just as the state minimum wage has multiple tiers based on area, so does the tipped wage (direct wage). Further, there are different rates for different categories of tipped employees.

As of December 31, 2019, service employees not working in resorts who work within New York City must be paid at least $12.50 per hour with a $3.25 tip threshold. Those in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties have a minimum $10.85 per hour cash wage and a $2.80 tip threshold. Tipped employees in the rest of the state have a minimum direct wage of $9.85 per hour with a tip threshold of $2.55.

Tip thresholds are higher for those working in resorts. Food service workers have a lower cash wage rate and no tip threshold.

New York applies a tip threshold standard as part of the tip credit calculations for some tipped workers. This means that an employee must receive at least the tip threshold rate per hour, on average, over a week to qualify as a tipped employee. If the employee does not meet the tipping threshold, the employer may not pay the lower direct wage and apply the tip credit.

Overtime Wage in New York

New York has three main categories for overtime pay rules. As with all state laws, should a federal law on wage and hour be more favorable to an employee covered by the federal law, the federal law will supersede state rules.

Covered employees under New York law are required to be paid time and one half their regular pay rate for hours over 40 worked within one payroll week.

Those who are considered live-in residential employees have a different hourly threshold for overtime pay. For those employees, overtime of time and a half of their regular rate must be paid for hours worked over 44 hours in one payroll week.

A third rate is defined for agricultural workers. For agricultural workers, any hours worked over 60 in one calendar week, or hours worked on the state-mandated rest day, must be paid at the overtime rate of time and one half their regular hourly rate.

Some additional exceptions to overtime exist under state rules, such as janitors because they are paid on a unit repaired rate rather than an hourly rate, and exemptions laid out for the federal fair labor standards act (FLSA).

Child Labor Laws in New York

New York requires those under age 18 to have permission to work. The work permits are called working papers and come in three main types. These are known as blue, green and salmon based on the color of the permits and are divided by ages.

Blue working papers are for ages 14 and 15 working during summer, school vacations when school is not in session or after school hours during school sessions.

Green working papers cover ages 16 and 17 who work during times school is not in session or after school hours during school sessions.

Salmon working papers cover ages 16 and 17 who no longer attend school or are in the process of leaving school for the purpose of full-time employment. Each permit has different age-related restrictions on hazardous work.

New York does permit minors working in agriculture to be paid lower minimum wage rates in some cases. However, federal law may provide more benefits to minors.

Those under age 16 who work in agriculture may be paid $3.20 per hour instead of state minimum wage. Those minors aged 16 and 17 years old may be paid alternative wages based on if they are harvest or non-harvest workers and how long they have been employed.

Employer Recordkeeping Requirements

California requires employers to keep certain records of when their employees work in addition to the federal FLSA, Equal Pay Act, and other federal law rules.

New York has multiple recordkeeping requirements that are based on industry.

In general, items required for federal recordkeeping under rules such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are required for all employees. This may include items such as name, basic payroll data including gross, taxes held, hourly/piece rate, and net pay, Social Security number, occupation title and dates of payment.

However, the full recordkeeping requirements vary considerably by industry and are outlined in each industry wage order.

Recent New York Labor Law Updates

Time Off for Voting - Mandatory - April 2019

The New York Time Off for Voting poster has been updated to show that employees have the right to request up to three hours of paid time off to go vote. This poster was also updated to show that employees must request the time off for voting no later than two working days prior to the date of the election.

Fair Employment - Mandatory - January 2019

The New York Fair Employment poster has been updated to reflect new protected categories and added that employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on pregnancy and gender identity. The agency has also added that sexual harassment or harassment based on any of the protected categories is prohibited in the workplace.

Minimum Wage - Mandatory - December 2018

The New York Minimum Wage poster has been updated to reflect an increase to the minimum wage rate. The minimum wage for New York state will increase from $10.40 per hour to $11.10 per hour effective December 31, 2018. The poster also includes the New York City minimum wage increase of $15.00 per hour for large employers, $13.50 for small employers, and the Long Island and Westchester County minimum wage increase of $12.00 per hour, effective December 31, 2018.

New York Labor Law Frequently Asked Questions

New York Combined Federal and State Kit plus Update Service

Have all of your state and federal required posters updated whenever the laws change.