It’s the responsibility of every New York business to make sure it follows state and federal wage and hour laws. One area where many employers get in trouble concerns overtime laws. If your company fails to pay its employees the overtime they earn, you could be facing major legal penalties.
Don’t expose yourself and your organization to unnecessary litigation and damages. Consult with the New York business law attorneys of Rosenbaum & Taylor.
The Basics of Overtime
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the bare minimum rules concerning minimum wage, overtime, and related matters. States and local governments are free to set more advantageous rules for workers. The more beneficial (to the employee) rule will prevail wherever there is a difference.
An employee who works over 40 hours in a week must be paid time and a half for those excess hours. This means he or she has to be paid 1.5 times the regular hourly rate. The hourly rate itself must be at least the minimum wage.
While the federal minimum wage is only $7.25/hour, New York’s minimum wage is much higher. As of the end of 2022, workers in New York State must be paid at least $14.20 an hour. This rate is $15.00 per hour in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester.
Some employees are exempt, but the exemptions are strictly defined and don’t apply to most hourly workers. Moreover, some employees are exempt from overtime under the FLSA but are still entitled to overtime under state law.
Ask an experienced New York business lawyer for more information about the state’s minimum wage and overtime laws.
Common Ways New York Businesses Violate Overtime Laws
It is imperative that your business follows all applicable overtime laws. Failure to do so could result in significant penalties, court costs, and more. If you’re not sure whether your company is breaking the law, ask a New York business attorney for more information.
These are just some of the ways New York companies run afoul of overtime laws.
Not Correctly Calculating Overtime
Overtime is time and a half the employee’s regular rate of pay. But if the pay rate is miscalculated, or the number of hours is incorrect, the employee will be underpaid.
Not Crediting Employees With All Hours Worked
Some companies ask employees to work “off the clock.” But employees must be compensated for all time working for your business. That includes meal breaks in which employees are not relieved of their duties.
Incorrectly Applying an Exemption
Many businesses erroneously invoke an exemption when refusing to pay for overtime. A New York business lawyer can explain how these exemptions work and whether you are correctly using them.
Averaging Hours Across More Than One Week
Say an employee works 46 hours in a week but only 30 the next. The first week, the employee must be paid 40 straight time (regular pay rate) hours and 6 overtime hours. The company cannot average hours across two weeks (38 hours per week in this example) and pay only straight time. Every work week must stand on its own.
Not Following State or Local Laws
Remember, New York laws are more beneficial to employees than federal law. Following just the FLSA could therefore still violate the state’s overtime laws. Talk to a knowledgeable New York business attorney to understand your business’s overtime obligations.
We Are Here to Advise Your New York Business
Rosenbaum & Taylor understands the numerous laws that New York companies must follow. If you have questions about overtime or related matters, we can counsel you. Give us a call today to set up your consultation.