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Employees Legal Rights in NYS

A recent article about Tesla CEO, Elon Musk and substandard working conditions got us thinking about employees’ legal rights under New York Law. It is important that you know your rights. So here is a brief outline of things that you should know.

  • Minimum wage: In New York, the minimum wage is currently $15.00 dollars an hour in New York City, Long Island, and West Chester. In other parts of the State, it is $13.20 dollars an hour.
  • Overtime Pay: IN New York if you work more than 40 hours a week your employer is required to pay you overtime. The overtime rate is currently 1 ½ times your hourly rate.
  • Salaried employees: Certain employees are considered salaried and thus not entitled to time and a half for overtime. This would include executive, administrative, and professional employees. But, your salary must be at least $1,125 per week in New York City, Long Island, and West Chester to avoid the overtime requirement of time and a half. In the rest of the State, it must be at least $990 per week.
  • Length of the work day: There is no general requirement that a shift is a certain amount of time such as eight hours But an employer is required to pay overtime for work in excess of 40 hours a week.
  • Firing employees: New York is an at-will work State. That means that an employer can fire you for just about any reason and does not need cause unless you have a contract that provides for different criteria. However, you cannot be fired for a discriminatory reason such as your race, religion, or gender.
  • Paid Vacations: Your employer is not legally required to provide paid vacation leave.
  • Sick Time: Depending on your current employment you may be entitled to sick time. Employers with 100 or more employees are required to pay for 56 hours of sick time. Employers with 5-99 employees must pay for 40 hours of sick time per year. Employers with 0-4 employees with a net income of one million dollars a year must provide 40 hours of sick time a year.
  • Health Insurance: The law does not require employers to provide health insurance at this time.
  • Pension: New York State does not require your employer to provide a pension or retirement plan.
  • Union Membership: An Employer cannot retaliate if you join a union
  • Jury Duty: You cannot be fired for attending jury duty. But if you work for an employer with ten or fewer employees, the employer is not required to pay you for jury duty.
  • Workers Compensation: You are entitled to get medical benefits and lost wages if you are injured on the job. For information on how to make a claim you can visit:

Should you feel your legal rights have been violated at work you should reach out to the State of New York Office of the Attorney General to file a complaint or contact a local employment lawyer.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents, and slip-and-fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.