The NY Working Woman's Pocket Guide
Other Important Workplace Laws
There are several important laws to be aware of as a working woman in New York, including minimum wage, overtime, and benefits for off-the-job and on-the-job injuries.
There have been recent changes to the minimum wage in New York. Here’s the breakdown:
- If you work as an employee in New York State outside of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, the minimum wage is $13.20/hour.
- If you work as an employee in New York City, Long Island, or Westchester, the minimum wage is $15/hour.
- Note: if you work as an employee in fast food anywhere in the state of New York, the minimum wage is $15/hour.
Note on tipped workers: The minimum wages stated above apply to nearly all employees in the state of New York. However, certain kinds of tipped workers are only entitled to a lower cash wage, including many food service workers like wait staff and bartenders and some kinds of hotel employees; these rates can also vary depending on where in the state you work. For more information on minimum wage rules for tipped workers, click here.
Note: All New York State wage and hour laws apply regardless of immigration status and regardless of whether a worker is paid “off the books.”
In general, if you are an hourly employee and you work more than 40 hours in one week, your employer must pay you at least 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for those additional hours worked. Both federal and state law provide overtime protections. Some employees, including many (though not all) salaried employees, are not covered by overtime protections. For more information on New York State overtime rules, click here; for more information on federal overtime protections, click here.
If you are a residential worker or “live-in worker,” you are entitled to overtime pay (1.5 times your regular rate of pay) for hours worked over 44 hours in one week.
If you are a farmworker who works more than 60 hours in a week, you are entitled to overtime pay (1.5 times your regular rate of pay) for hours worked over 60 hours in one week. Farmworkers are also entitled to at least one day of rest per week (24 consecutive hours), and must be paid overtime if choosing to work on a day of rest.
If you work a shift of over six hours starting before 11AM and continue working until 2PM, you are entitled to a lunch period of at least half an hour between 11 AM and 2 PM. Employers are not required to pay employees for this meal time. Workers may have other meal period rights according to their shift or the industry in which they work. For more information, click here.
Additionally, other than the meal period described above, New York employers are not generally obligated to provide breaks or rest periods to employees, but if they do permit a break of up to 20 minutes, this time must be paid.
Note: You may be entitled to overtime even if you are paid a salary.
Where can I get help if I have questions about my wage or overtime rights?
For more information New York State wage and hour laws, visit the New York State Department of Labor’s Fostering Access, Rights, and Education page and Wages and Hours Frequently Asked Questions.
If you believe you have a claim for unpaid wages or failure to receive minimum wage or overtime, you can fill out this Department of Labor form and mail it to:
Division of Labor Standards
Harriman State Office
Campus Building 12, Room 266B
Albany, NY 12240
If you make minimum wage and your employer schedules you for a shift, and you report to work, you may still be entitled to pay even if you are no longer needed for work that day. This is a growing area of law and New York may be expanding protections around fair scheduling.
Equal Pay, Salary History Ban, & Sexual Harassment Laws
New York provides additional protections to workers related to equal pay and salary history, in addition to prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. See here for more information on equal pay, salary history, and sexual harassment.
Do I have additional protections if I work in New York City?
- If you are a fast food worker in New York City and work for a chain that operates 30 or more restaurants, you likely have the right to advance notice of your schedule, access to your hours, and may not be required to work two shifts with fewer than 11 hours between the end of a shift and the beginning of the next one.
- If you are a retail worker in New York City and work for an employer with 20 or more employees, you likely have the right to advance notice of your schedule and may not be scheduled for on-call shifts.
- Most employees in New York City have the right to:
- A temporary schedule change due to a “personal event” two times a year — for up to one business day per request.
- A personal event includes the need to care for a child under 18, care for a family member or someone who lives with you who has a disability and relies on you for care, the need to attend a legal proceeding or hearing for benefits, or the need for safe or sick time.
- This right is separate from your right to earn sick time if you are covered under that law. (See the Earned Sick Time section for more information.)
- Request a change to your schedule without risking retaliation from your employer. Your employer is not required to approve your request to change your schedule but also cannot punish or discipline you for requesting it.
On-the-Job Injuries & Illnesses
If you are injured on the job—no matter who is at fault—you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover a portion of your wages and medical needs.
Off-the-Job Injuries & Illnesses
New York law also gives most workers the right to temporary disability insurance (TDI), sometimes known as disability benefits (DB). TDI gives you the right to partial wage replacement while you are unable to work due to an off-the-job illness or injury, including pregnancy-related disabilities and recovery from childbirth. TDI benefits are capped at a maximum of $170 per week.
For more information about how TDI interacts with New York paid family leave, click here.
If you lose your job and are able to continue working, you may be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits
Other Anti-Discrimination Laws
In New York, employers cannot discriminate against you based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, or domestic violence victim status.
Do I have additional protections in NYC?
Yes. If you work in New York City, your employer cannot discriminate against you based on:
- Alienage or citizenship status
- Gender (including sexual harassment)
- Gender Identity
- Marital Status and Partnership Status
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Decisions
- Status as a Veteran or Active Military Service Member
You also have additional protections in New York City based on your:
- Arrest of conviction record
- Caregiver status
- Credit history
- Unemployment status
- Pre-employment marijuana testing status
- Salary history
- Status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, and sex offenses
Fair Practices for Farm Workers
New laws passed in New York State give farm workers the right to unionize, collect overtime pay for working more than 60 hours in a week and eventually 40 hours, and have at least one day off per week.
Note: These rights do not extend to small family farms. This means that if you are the parent, spouse, child or other family member of your employer, you are not covered.
For information about your workplace rights, call A Better Balance’s free and confidential legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB (1-833-633-3222).
A couple additional notes:
- These laws apply to you regardless of your immigration or citizenship status.
- The information listed in this section does not constitute legal advice. It is always advisable to consult with an attorney about your individual circumstances if you have questions or think your rights as a worker have been violated.