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Minimum Wage and Overtime

Every person working in New York and New Jersey is entitled to a decent wage to provide for themselves and their families, which is defined as the Minimum Wage. In addition, you are entitled to Overtime Pay at a rate that is 1½ times your regular rate of pay when you work over 40 hours in any given week. For example, if you are earning $12.00 per hour and you work in over 40 hours, you must be paid no less than $18.00 per hour for every hour you work that is in excess of 40 hours in a given week.

Employers often engage in various types of pay violations literally stealing money from their employees. To understand your rights, call and speak to one of the employment attorneys at the Akin Law Group, free of charge.  Employment laws are very complex and often require consultation with an attorney that is experienced in this area.  Below is a list of some of the laws applicable to working individuals.

Spread of Hours Pay. In New York State if you work in excess of 10 hours in a day, in addition to all other payments, you must be paid for one extra hour.  Unfortunately there is no spread of hours pay in New Jersey.

Sick Leave: In New York City, if you work in excess of 80 hours in a year and your employer has at least five employees you must be paid at least 5 days of sick leave (i.e. you must be paid for 40 hours when you call in sick). Your employer cannot terminate your employment or retaliate against you for calling in sick. If they do, that will be a separate cause of action.  Unfortunately, in New York State and New Jersey there is no mandatory sick leave for private employers.

Employee Misclassification: Often times, employers classify employees as managers to deny them overtime pay when the duties performed by the employee are not really managerial in nature.

Independent Contractors: Often times, employers classify employees as independent contractors to deny paying their social security and providing them with other benefits (like sick leave) when the person is an employee in reality.

Equal Pay Act:  Often employers will pay woman, minorities or undocumented employees less than the amount that they pay other employees.

Workers on Commission: An employee that is paid strictly by way of a commission is still entitled to the minimum wage for all periods that he/she is not earning a commission. These employees are also entitled to overtime when they work in excess of 40 hours in a given week.

Tipped Workers (Restaurant): Workers in the Restaurant and Hospitality sector are often denied the pay that they actually deserve. In other words, tipped employees are often paid less than what the law requires. Often times:

  • Tipped employees are not paid the proper minimum wage or the tip credit taken by the employee is in excess of what the law requires.
  • Employee’s tips are taken and used to pay the salary of managers.
  • Tips received by credit card are not given to the employee.
  • Employees are not provided with a proper pay stub that shows their earnings, the tip credit deducted and the tips earned.
  • Tipped employees are made to perform non-tipped tasks like cleaning, working in the kitchen, etc.
  • Employees made the work the lunch and dinner shift with numerous hours of unpaid time in between are denied Spread of Hours pay although their time from start to finish exceeds 10 hours.

Family Medical Leave Act:

On January 1, 2018, New York State’s paid family leave went into effect providing New Yorkers that have been employed for 26 consecutive weeks who work 20 or more hours per week and those that have worked over 175 days if working less than 20 hours per week, with job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or to help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service abroad.

In addition, the Fair Labor Standards Act (which applies to New York and New Jersey) allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave when they have been employed for at least one full year provided the employer is employing 50 or more people.


In the event your employer terminates your employment or in any other manner discriminates against you for (a) making a complaint about a possible labor law violation to the employer (b) filing a complaint in Court, (c) providing information or testifying in an investigation or other proceeding regarding wage violations, or exercising some other right, your employer can be fined up to $20,000. Retaliation does not have to be termination; it can be any act your employer does that adversely affects you (change of shifts, reduced hours, etc.).

Contact the Akin Law Group

In the event you feel that you are not being paid properly, you should immediately contact the Akin Law Group, (a leader in the field of employment law with a proven track record) by calling (212) 825-1400 or e-mailing us at [email protected].

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