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Workforce Management

The Top 3 New York Labor Law Compliance Watchouts for Employers

What Do You Need to Know About New York State Labor Laws?

New York State labor laws have traditionally been a challenge for employers to keep up with, and this year is no different. If you employ workers in New York, you not only have to keep an eye on minimum wage changes for different locales, but you also must monitor pay stub requirements, overtime and work week spread, and sick leave.

To help you avoid making any missteps, we’ve provided information on the top 3 HR watchouts, including how to avoid trouble and solutions that can potentially help you stay compliant in this environment. 

1. Pay Stub Requirements

In New York, all employees must receive a pay stub with each payment of wages or salary. This is also documented on the employment contract when they are hired, as well as the conditions of employment. 

This pay stub must include certain information, such as the employer’s name and address, employee’s name, dates of work covered by the payment, rate or rates of pay, total wages or salary earned, and any deductions made. If an employee is paid by direct deposit, they must still receive a pay stub. If they do not, then you could be subject to a fine of up to $5,000!

Avoid These Common Mistakes

  • Incorrect pay cycles. An employee must have it documented how often they are getting paid (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly). 
  • Unpaid wages. This is considered wage theft, and can be avoided with proper documentation.
  • Incorrect tax data. The NY State laws, and in some cases city laws may not be up to date. 
  • Incorrect tax data for remote employees. As an NY based employer, you still have to take into account the tax laws for any remote employee in their home state. 
  • Incorrect data on the W-4 form. Your employees’ W-4 form must update regularly to reflect any life changes such as marriage, or having a baby. 

How Paycor Helps

Paycor’s payroll software offers allowances and credits on paystubs based on New York’s regulations to ensure your pay stubs are error-free and compliant so you won’t have to worry about payroll ever again.

2. New York State Laws Regarding Overtime

Any and all overtime/workweek spread requirements must be outlined in your employment contract. 

All New York non-exempt employees must be paid overtime at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a work week. If an employee is making the minimum wage rate of $15/hr and works over 40 hours, then their hourly rate goes up to $22.50/hr.

Some employers, such as those in factories, hotels, restaurants, stores, and others are required to give one full 24-hour day off to rest per work week. There is no limit to the number of hours someone works, but anything over 40 hours does require overtime pay

Some employees who receive a salary vs. hourly wage, may not receive overtime pay. However, as the minimum wage increases, so too does the minimum salary required per calendar week increase. As of 12/31/21, the minimum weekly salary requirement for NYC, Long Island, and Westchester is $1,125, and $990 for the rest of New York State. 

Sometimes shifts may be split, and the hours are not consecutive. If your employee works more than 10 hours per day, then you are most likely going to have to give your employee an additional hour of pay.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

  • Misclassifying employees as exempt vs. non-exempt. As an employer, the Fair Labor Standards Labor Act (FLSA) can fine any employer who misclassifies their employees. If you classify a non-exempt employee as an exempt one, then they will not receive the overtime pay they are required to receive. Many of these employees are expecting their pay, and it can take a full pay period to correct in many cases.
  • Missing deadlines. Failing to submit payroll at the end of a pay period causes an HR nightmare, and often leaves the employee wondering when they’ll get their paycheck.
  • Incorrect pay information. Sometimes an employee can be over or underpaid, get paid for time off that they did not earn, or not get paid correctly for medical leave. They may also be under a specific employment contract that must be adhered to.  If this happens, it also can mess up the W-2 forms that need to be squeaky clean for employees to file their taxes.

How Paycor Helps

Keeping track of overtime and work week spread requirements for New York is simple with Paycor’s Time and Attendance Software.

Paycor can automate this process for you, so you are always up to date with the latest regulations. Plus, all documentation is stored securely for safe record keeping.

Not only will Paycor help you stay compliant with the New York hiring laws, but your employees will have access to all the correct paperwork to verify information at anytime from anywhere.

3. Sick Leave Requirements 

Under New York City labor laws, all employers must provide sick leave to employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year. Eligible employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employees may use sick leave for their illness or injury, or to care for a family member with a mental or physical illness. 

The sick leave requirements in New York State are based on employer size, and for employers with 4 or fewer employees, it depends on the net income.

  • Employers with 100+ employees are required to provide 56 hours of paid sick leave.
  • Employers with 5 – 99 employees are required to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave.
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees, with a net income greater than $1 million from the previous year, must provide 40 hours of paid sick leave.
  • Employers with 4 or fewer employees, with a net income of less than $1 million from the previous year, are required to provide 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per year.
  • Domestic workers who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year, or have been with their individual employer for more than a year are entitled to two paid sick days.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

  • Undocumented sick leave. Depending on the size of your business, if an employee is sick, they are most likely not entering it into a system, and they can forget to document their sick time. Having a plan in place to ensure all time is documented is crucial.
  • Outdated sick leave policy. It’s no secret that many employers changed their sick leave policies during COVID-19. Be sure your system is up to date with your current policy.
  • Outdated sick leave policy based on NY law. Not keeping up with the current NY laws and regulations for sick leave can result in confusion, and even fines.

How Paycor Helps

Keeping track of sick leave accruals for New York is done effortlessly with Paycor’s Time and Attendance Software! This allows you to ensure your employees are receiving the proper amount of sick leave.

These are just a few of the compliance watchouts that employers need to be aware of in New York State. Below are some other common questions employers are often faced with.

How Many Hours Can An Employer Require An Employee to Work in New York?

There are no limits, except for children under the age of 18. However, it is up to the employee to agree upon what the employer is asking upon accepting their position. They must include rest and lunch breaks, and comply with giving some workers such as factory, and restaurant workers a 24-hour period of rest per a 7-day work week.

Who is An Employer Under New York Labor Law?

According to the New York State Department of Labor, an employer includes: 

  • New York State and other government entities
  • Any person, partnership, firm, or association
  • A public or private, domestic or foreign corporation
  • The legal representative(s) of a deceased person
  • The receiver, trustee, or successor of a person, partnership, firm, association, public or private, domestic or foreign corporation

What are the New York State Labor Laws Regarding Lunch Breaks? 

Employees receive a 30-minute lunch break when they work 6 hours, and it falls within 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Employees who work more than 6 hours receive a 45-minute meal break when they begin work between 1:00pm and 6:00 am. If an employee begins their work before 11:00 am, and ends it after 7:00 pm, then they are entitled to an additional 20-minute shorter meal period. 

There are New York labor law scheduling provisions that do not require a rest break, but do require that any rest break under 20 minutes is paid.

Are Construction Workers Considered Contractors?

The New York Construction Industry Fair Play Act protects all construction workers from wage and hour mistreatment. You must comply with these rules as it is against the law to misclassify construction workers as contractors or freelance workers in order to avoid paying overtime pay. It must be clearly shown on their employment contract that they are not contractors. Failing to comply can result in fines, and legal action can be taken by the employee.

How Paycor Can Help

You may be feeling overwhelmed with all of the compliance regulations that are specific to your state. Paycor is here to help! We’re experts who can guide you through the complex landscape of New York compliance and employment laws.

Not only do we want to keep you compliant, but we also want to help you save money. Many businesses make costly mistakes when it comes to payroll and benefits management. Let Paycor show you how to streamline your operations and save money at the same time.

Request a demo of Paycor’s suite of HR tools today; get out of the weeds of HR.