MINIMUM WAGE LAWS: THE LEAST YOUR COVERED EMPLOYER CAN DO FOR YOU

The good news for New Yorkers is that a minimum wage increase to $9 was recently approved by the New York Legislature. The minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour and will rise in increments of 75 cents an hour over the course of the next two years, until it reaches $9 an hour in the year 2015. The bad news for New York and other parts of the country is that there is an epidemic of violations of the minimum wage laws, with employers failing to pay overtime rates or, in some cases, the minimum wage, according to a Department of Labor (DOL) spokeswoman. If you believe your New York employer has violated the minimum wage laws, consult a New York minimum wage attorney.

The federal law

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was enacted by Congress in 1938 to protect workers by establishing a minimum wage and payment for overtime. In general, the federal law covers:

  • Companies that make more $500,000 dollars a year in business
  • Companies that are involved in commerce between states
  • Individual employees whose work requires them to conduct business in other states
  • Public agencies
  • Residential healthcare facilities of any size, including hospitals
  • Schools of any size for the gifted or the mentally or physically disabled
  • All schools, from preschool through high school and college, regardless of size
  • People who employ day workers or housekeepers or full‑time babysitters and pay a specified sum per year and/or engage them for more than eight hours a week

Certain employees, such as executives, administrators, professionals, outside sales persons and certain seasonal amusement park employees, among others occupations, are not covered under  FLSA  minimum wage requirements or overtime.

New York State law: overtime

Under New York State Law, covered employees must be paid at 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for all hours above 40 hours that are worked in any given workweek. For employees working in a residence, overtime pay starts after 44 hours per workweek. For wage and hour claims in New York City and New York State, it is important to remember that a workweek is not defined by law as starting on Monday and ending on Friday — it can begin on any day or hour, and overtime pay is therefore not automatically earned on a weekend or holiday, unless you have already worked  40 hours from the time your workweek started. As is apparent, the laws in this area are complex and should be clarified with the aid of a professional.

If you believe you have not been paid the minimum wage and you were entitled to it, you may have a claim under the FLSA for unpaid wages and damages. Contact the Akin Law Groupand discuss your concerns.