The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S. Code § 206 – 2016), the New York Labor Law (Article 19, NYLL § 650 et al.) and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Laws (N.J.S.A. §§ 34:11-56 et al.) provide that “[e]very employer shall pay to each of his employees” a Minimum Wage. In addition, these statutes provide that any employee that works in excess of 40 hours in a given work week must be paid compensation that is not less than one-half times their regular earnings as Over-Time Pay. As such, if you are not paid the minimum wage (as explained below) or are not paid Overtime Pay when you work in excess of 40 hours in a given week, you should immediately contact the Akin Law Group.
Section 17 of Article 1 of the New York State Constitution mandates the payment of prevailing wages to workers employed on public work. This constitutional mandate is implemented through Labor Law Article 8, NY Labor Law §§ 220, et seq. “Labor Law § 220 was enacted to ensure that employees on public works projects are paid wages equivalent to the prevailing rate of similarly employed workers in the locality where the contract is to be performed and authorizes the [Commissioner of Labor] to ascertain said prevailing wage rate, as well as the prevailing ‘supplements’ paid in the locality. If you feel that you are being paid less than the Prevailing Wage (less than some of your co-workers working on “public projects,” you should immediately contact the Akin Law Group. You maybe entitled to thousands of dollars in underpaid wages.
Effective January 1, 2017 the minimum wage rate in New Jersey is $8.44 per hour which is governed by the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law. New York is a bit more complicated with the lowest rate being $12.00 per hour for Fast-food employees in New York City to $9.70 per hour outside of New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties which is explained in further detail below. Since the Federal Minimum Wage still remains at $7.25 per hour, employees working in New York and New Jersey must be paid the State Minimum Wage, which is higher.
New York is a bit complicated and often confused by employees and employers alike. Starting with the local, New York City:
If the employer has 10 or fewer employees (and not in the Fast-Food industry) the minimum wage is as follows:
$10.50 per hour as of January 1, 2017
$12.00 per hour as of January 1, 2018
$13.50 per hour as of January 1, 2019
$15.00 per hour as of January 1, 2020
If the employer has 11 or more employees (and not in the Fast-Food industry) the minimum wage is as follows:
$11.00 per hour as of January 1, 2017
$13.00 per hour as of January 1, 2018
$15.00 per hour as of January 1, 2019
If the employer is in the Fast-food industry, regardless of the number of employees, the minimum wage is as follows:
$12.00 per hour as of January 1, 2017
$13.50 per hour as of January 1, 2018
$15.00 per hour as of January 1, 2019
In Downstate New York ((Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties) the size of the business is irrelevant. As long as the employer is not in the Fast-Food industry, the minimum wage is as follows:
$10.00 per hour as of January 1, 2017
$11.00 per hour as of January 1, 2018
$12.00 per hour as of January 1, 2019
$13.00 per hour as of January 1, 2020
$14.00 per hour as of January 1, 2021
$15.00 per hour as of January 1, 2022
For the Remainder of New York (All counties outside of New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties) again, the size of the business is irrelevant. As long as the employer is not in the Fast-Food industry, the minimum wage is as follows:
$ 9.70 per hour as of January 1, 2017
$10.40 per hour as of January 1, 2018
$11.10 per hour as of January 1, 2019
$11.80 per hour as of January 1, 2020
$12.50 per hour as of January 1, 2021
As for the Fast-food industry outside of New York City, regardless of whether employees work downtown or uptown, as long as the business is located outside New York City border, the minimum wage is as follows:
$10.75 per hour as of January 1, 2017
$11.75 per hour as of January 1, 2018
$12.75 per hour as of January 1, 2019
$13.75 per hour as of January 1, 2020
$14.50 per hour as of January 1, 2021
$15.00 per hour as of July 1, 2021
The wage and hour laws in New York are complicated and require an attorney that is well versed in this field of practice. Not only do employees not really understand what they are supposed to be paid, most employers are also confused. If anyone believes they are being paid less than the minimum wage or are denied overtime pay in New York, our attorneys at the Akin Law Group are here to assist.
Unlike New York, New Jersey is rather straight forward. If you are not a tipped employee you must be paid $8.44 per hour and you must be paid $12.66 for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any given week. If an employer is paying you a straight salary regardless of whether you work 40 hours in some weeks and more in other weeks, they are in violation of the law. You must be paid for every hour you work in excess of 40 hours and you must be paid the overtime rate.
Both, New York and New Jersey require that all employees (with few exception) be paid overtime wage, which is an amount that is 1.5 X the regular rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a given week. By way of an example, an employee in New York that is paid $11.00 per hour (in New York City rate for large employers) must be paid no less than $16.50 per hour for any time they work in excess of 40 hours in the given week. As such, an employee that works 50 hours in a given week must be paid no less than $440 (40 x $11) in regular pay and $165 (10 x $16.50) in Over-Time pay for a total of $605.00. In New Jersey, the same employee making the minimum wage of $8.44 that works 50 hours in a given week must be paid no less than $337.60 (40 x $8.44) in regular pay and $126.60 (10 x $12.66) in Over-Time pay for a total of $464.20. If you are working overtime (more than 40 hours per week) in New York or New Jersey and you are not paid the minimum wage or the overtime pay for which you are entitled, the Akin Law Group is here to help you collect all the amounts that you are owed.
Although New York Labor Law is a statute similar to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New Jersey Labor Law, New York has an additional requirement known as the “spread of hours” provision which allows an employee to recover an extra hour’s worth of pay at the minimum wage for each day that an employee works in excess of 10 hours. For example, an employee earning $11.00 per hour that reports to work from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and is required to take a break from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, only to continue working from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm has only worked 10 hours, but has worked those 10 hours in a spread of 11 hour time frame. As such, this employee must be paid an additional amount of $11.00 for that day. If you work more than 10 hours in any given day and you are not paid an extra hours pay, contact the Akin Law Group.
Federal and State Laws mandate attorney’s fees, Liquidated Damages, Costs and Interest to be paid to an employee that prevails in a wage and hour claim. 29 U.S. Code § 216 (i.e. Section 216 of the FLSA) provides, in relevant part, that the Court shall allow a prevailing employee to recover his reasonable attorney’s fees, as well as the costs of the action. In that vein, courts across the country have held that an employee who “prevails” in an FLSA action shall receive his or her “full wages plus the penalty without incurring any expense for legal fees or costs. Bringing a claim for minimum wage or overtime violations will not cost the employee any amount since the attorney’s fees, costs and disbursements will be paid by the employer. As such, an employee should have no concerns about not being able to afford an attorney or pay for litigation when the matter involves wage violations.
Likewise, N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 198(1-a) mandates that “In any action instituted in the courts upon a wage claim by an employee or the commissioner in which the employee prevails, the court shall allow such employee to recover the full amount of any underpayment, all reasonable attorney’s fees, prejudgment interest as required under the civil practice law and rules, and, unless the employer proves a good faith basis to believe that its underpayment of wages was in compliance with the law, an additional amount as liquidated damages equal to one hundred percent of the total amount of the wages found to be due.”.
Employees/workers who sue for Minimum Wage, Spread of Hours or Over-Time violations can recover the gap between their actual pay and the amount they were supposed to be paid for the hours worked, as well as an equivalent amount in Liquidated Damages. Liquidated Damages can be up to 100% which means for every $100 in pay that you are owed, you will recover a total of $200.
In addition to liquidated damages, you may also be entitled to Prejudgment Interest, which is an amount that is awarded to an employee to compensate the employee for the loss of use of the wage that they should have received from the time the employer should have paid it to the employee to the time that payment is actually made.
We are on your side. You and your family deserve better. If you, or anyone you know has been paid less than the Minimum Wage or was denied Over-Time pay despite working in excess of 40 weeks, wasn’t paid the Spread of Hours differential for working in excess of 10 hours, or has not been provided the necessary pay-stub, pay notice, or have any other question about your employment, contact the Akin Law Group immediately at 212-825-1400 or at [email protected] and schedule your FREE initial consultation about any employment related matter.