New York City employers that require employees to work overtime must pay the employee premium pay for overtime hours. Unfortunately, thousands of employees aren’t paid for the overtime work they do daily. Unpaid overtime is one of the most common wage and hour violations that occur in New York City and throughout the country.
Unpaid overtime is rarely a one-time occurrence. Many employees regularly receive miscalculated overtime for years. Through individual legal claims and class action lawsuits, the NYC unpaid overtime attorneys at Woods Lonergan PLLC help employees obtain unpaid overtime plus interest, penalties, and other monetary damages. Contact the skilled employment attorneys at Woods Lonergan today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Determining Overtime Pay
Employees are protected by federal and state wage and hours laws that require overtime pay. When employees work more than 40 hours in a single workweek, employers must pay them at least time and a half for their regular pay rates. For example, if an employee typically earns $40 per hour, an employer must pay at least $60 per hour for any overtime hours the employee works.
There isn’t a limit on the number of overtime hours an employee can work in the workweek, as long as the employee is over age 16 and is fairly compensated. A workweek is defined as a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours or seven consecutive 24-hour periods. The workweek can begin any day and at any hour, and employers may establish different workweeks for different employees.
Employers cannot average the number of hours an employee works over two or more weeks to determine overtime pay. Typically, overtime pay must be paid on the regular payday for the pay period in which the employee earned the wages.
Common Ways New York City Employers Violate Overtime Rules
New York City employers use many different strategies to engage in unpaid overtime violations, including, but not limited to:
- “Off-the-clock” work
- Improper overtime calculator methods
- Minimum wage violations
- Misclassification of an employee as exempt from overtime
- Failure to pay compensable time for donning and doffing, training, travel, and being on-call
- Failure to provide required meal and rest breaks
- Improper “chargebacks” or wage deductions
- Improper classification of an employee as an independent contractor
- Failure to classify as an independent contractor
Determining an Employee’s Regular Rate of Pay
Employees must be paid for overtime work at a rate of one and a half times their regular rate of pay. Sometimes employers try to engage in unpaid overtime practices by artificially lowering the employee’s rate of pay. The employee’s regular rate of pay can’t be less than New York’s minimum hourly wage. The regular rate of pay also includes all remuneration for employment.
Premium hourly payments for weekend and holiday work, discretionary bonuses, and payments for occasional periods when no work is performed due to vacation, illness, and holidays should all be included in determining the employee’s regular rate of pay. When employers fail to accurately determine the employee’s regular rate of pay, unpaid overtime can result.
Which Employers Are Exempt from Overtime Laws?
Certain employees are exempt from federal overtime rules. For example, the following employers are not entitled to overtime pay:
- Farm laborers
- Outside salespeople
- Executive, professional, and administrative employees
- Certain interns, volunteers, and apprentices
- Individuals working for a municipal, state, or federal government
- Taxicab drivers
- Members of religious orders
- Camp counselors
- Part-time babysitters
- Individuals working for a faculty, student, sorority, or fraternity
Other than people in the specific industries listed above, all New York employees are covered by the state’s overtime law. Although government employers aren’t required to pay overtime, workers in private schools, charter schools, and not-for-profit corporations are entitled to overtime.
New York Unpaid Overtime Laws
For many employees, New York’s wage and hour laws are more protective for employers. When there is a conflict between federal and state overtime laws, the employer must follow the law that will provide the most benefits for the employees. The New York Department of Labor Board oversees unpaid overtime complaints against employers at no cost to the employee. First, the Board will attempt to work with you and your employer to resolve your differences.
If that doesn’t work, you can file a claim for unpaid overtime. You will need to submit wage statements and any other evidence that you’ve been denied overtime pay. If the Board finds that your employer violated the law, they can require your employer to pay you back your unpaid overtime wages with interest. When employers intentionally violate wage and hour laws, employees may be entitled to additional compensation.
Employer Retaliation Regarding Unpaid Overtime
You may be concerned that your employer will retaliate against you for filing a claim against them for unpaid overtime. If your employer retaliates against you, they will violate federal and state laws. An employment attorney can help protect your legal rights while filing your unpaid overtime claim. Your employer cannot take any adverse employment action against you for reporting an unpaid wage violation.
How Long Do I Have to File an Unpaid Overtime Claim?
Employees should be aware that there is a statute of limitation, or time limit, for recovering unpaid wages in New York. Employees only have two years to take legal action against their employer for unpaid overtime compensation. After giving your employer a chance to fix the problem and pay you your unpaid wages, it’s time to consider your legal options. Recovering unpaid wages requires filing a legal claim that can be complicated. Working with an attorney will increase your chances of building a strong case against your employer.
Have You Been Denied Overtime Pay in NYC? Contact Woods Lonergan for Help
Do you believe that your employer hasn’t provided you with the overtime pay to which you’re entitled? If you are entitled to unpaid overtime, contact the employment attorneys at Woods Lonergan today to schedule a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable attorney. You may be able to recover unpaid back wages and additional compensation. Act now by calling our experienced attorneys at 212.684.2500.