New York Employees and Unpaid Overtime
What Every Employee in New York Should Know About Unpaid Overtime
In New York, and across the country, lawyers like the ones at Leeds Brown Law, P.C., focusing on unpaid wages and overtime, know that there is a complex web of rules and regulations that govern how employees get paid. Rules vary among different industries and occupations as well as different cities and states.
Unfortunately, employers violate wage-hour laws with frequency and at the financial expense of the hard-working labor force. Some businesses don’t pay the legal minimum wage because they know their employees are happy to have a job and earn any amount of money. Other companies may try to cut costs by refusing to pay overtime or provide wages for all the hours their employees perform work. Believe it or not, many employers simply don’t know what the law requires. An informed employee can pursue remedies when an employer violates his or her rights by not paying wages in compliance with the law.
Laws entitle you to seek the recovery of all earnings, including overtime pay, when your employer withholds your wages illegally. If you are not getting overtime pay but think you should be, consider speaking with experienced unpaid wage attorneys at Leeds Brown. Our lawyers have been successfully representing New York workers for decades and have recovered millions of dollars in unpaid wages for our clients. We can help you secure the overtime you have rightfully earned and any other remedies to which you may be entitled.
Unpaid Overtime Lawyers Understand the Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that employees of covered employers must receive overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a single given workweek. The pay for overtime hours is the regular hourly rate plus half, also called, time-and-a-half. What does this mean? If you work 42 hours in a workweek, you receive 40 hours of pay at your regular rate and time-and-a-half for the 2 hours of overtime.
There are exceptions and loopholes to overtime rules that many employers seek to implement. In general, however, if an employer is covered by the FLSA, there are several categories of workers who tend to be eligible for overtime regardless of other factors that may exist. They include:
- Blue collar workers
- Manual laborers
- Workers who use their hands, physical skill and energy to perform repetitive operations
- Police officers
- Other first responders
- Registered nurses, licensed practicing nurses and certified nursing assistants
- Employees at call centers
- Restaurant workers
- Fast food workers
- Home health aides
- Delivery drivers
Employers do not have to provide overtime pay to employees who fall under an FLSA exemption. An employee must meet a two-pronged test to be truly exempt under the FLSA. First, the employee must be salaried and earn the minimum amount per week that the law requires. The US Department of Labor (USDOL) sets the amount, which has been $455.00 per week for over a decade,. The December 1, 2016 increase to $913.00 per week ordered by the USDOL has been put on hold by a Federal Court in Texas. However, New York State and New York City raised their thresholds on December 31, 2016 to between $727.50 and $825.00 per week depending on location and size of employer. An employee who earns a weekly salary that is less than the minimum set forth by the DOL may be entitled to overtime wages.
An employee who receives at least the minimum salary will be exempt from overtime only if he or she ALSO satisfies the second prong of the test by falling into one of the exempt categories;
- Professional exemption
- Executive exemption
- Administrative exemption
- Computer employee exemption
- Outside sales exemption
- Highly compensated employee
Each one of the exemptions is accompanied by a “duties test” that the courts and agencies will use to help determine whether or not an employee is exempt from overtime. The tasks of the job are far more important than the job description or title in deciding whether someone truly falls within an overtime exemption. For instance, an employer may not call a worker an administrator just to avoid paying overtime. The person must actually have administrative duties as outlined in the regulations.
Know Your Rights to Overtime
While some employers are unaware of their obligations to pay overtime under the FLSA, even more employees are in the dark. Understanding your rights is the first step toward enforcing them. You deserve to get every dollar you earn. Consider whether you have experienced any of the following situations where an employer might be unlawfully withholding overtime wages;
- Forcing you to work “off the clock.”
- Misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime wages
- Paying comp time instead of overtime
- Refusing to pay overtime because you did not get permission to work extra hours
- Failing to pay for time spent at training sessions
- Calling all workers administrators or professionals
- Failing to compensate for hours dedicated to take-home work
- Refusing to pay for on-call time
- Failing to pay for attendance at meetings
- Averaging or spreading work hours over a span of two work weeks to avoid paying overtime
- Shaving hours to keep them under 40-not paying for all hours worked
- Paying particular work time “off the books.”
Employees in New York and nationwide may find themselves with a decision to make; continue to work for less than what the law requires or fight for what you deserve. At Leeds Brown, our attorneys can help you figure out how the best path to take to secure your unpaid overtime or other wages your employer is holding back. By filing an unpaid overtime claim, you may be able to recover all of the wages you should have received for work you have already performed. You may even be entitled to additional monetary compensation depending on the specifics of your case. There is a time limit for filing a claim, and we won’t know how much time left until you contact us.
We can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658. Call Leeds Brown today and find out if you can recover unpaid overtime from your employer.