Employers are required to compensate their workers in accordance with the law. State and federal minimum wages and other worker protections are there to ensure that employees receive fair wages and enjoy safe working conditions while on the job. In New York, the workplace culture often rewards employees who work beyond their required hours, as these employees may seem to be more driven and committed to their jobs than others. However, it’s essential that employees understand the laws and regulations that govern overtime payment, as some employers may intentionally or unintentionally fail to inform employees of their rights. Working overtime and not receiving the compensation you deserve for putting in these extra hours goes beyond losing out on the financial stability you’re owed—overtime violations can deprive you of your legal rights under state and federal employment laws. This post will explore how overtime compensation works in New York, as well as some of the most common overtime pay violations that may occur. If you believe your employer has taken advantage of you and owes you overtime pay, it’s best to discuss your options with an experienced and knowledgeable New York employment law attorney. Together, you can examine the details of your case and identify the most strategic path forward and the potential remedies available to you.

How Overtime Pay Works in New York

First, it’s helpful to understand the purpose of overtime pay and how it’s determined in New York. Essentially, overtime pay provides certain qualifying employees with additional compensation for any hours they work outside of the standard 40-hour workweek. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs overtime requirements and informs employees of their rights in such matters. Most employees are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all additional hours worked above and beyond the 40-hour workweek. As an employee, although it is your employer’s ultimate obligation to keep records of your hours worked, it’s essential to keep your own careful records of your work hours, which may serve as crucial evidence in a future unpaid overtime claim. Let’s take a look at who qualifies for overtime compensation and some of the factors involved in overtime pay calculations.

Eligibility Requirements for Overtime Pay in New York

Most employees are considered either exempt or nonexempt. This distinction is critical when it comes to matters such as determining overtime pay eligibility. In general, the FLSA requires overtime pay for nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. However, there are certain exceptions for the 40-hour workweek standard, such as police and firefighters employed by public agencies and workers employed by hospitals and nursing homes. While New York state overtime requirements do not cover federal, state, or local government employers, the legal protections do apply to nonprofit organizations and non-teachers employed by school districts, charter and private schools. It’s essential to review your employment terms to identify the classification and corresponding benefits and legal rights that accompany this designation. Enlisting the support of a knowledgeable employment law attorney is the best way to help you make informed decisions and exercise your rights.

Calculating Overtime Pay in New York

It’s critical that both employees and employers understand how to calculate overtime pay to ensure that workers are compensated fairly and justly for additional hours worked. In order to calculate the overtime pay you’re owed, you will need your regular hourly rate and the number of extra hours you worked. For example, if your regular hourly rate is $18 and you worked a total of 46 hours in a week, you would use the following formula to calculate your overtime pay: (46 – 40 hours) x ($18 x 1.5) = (6 hours x $27) = $162 in overtime pay. Moreover, it’s important to remember that state and federal labor laws do not require overtime pay for holiday, weekend, or night work—unless an individual employment agreement or collective bargaining agreement states otherwise or you are working more than 40 hours in that week.

Recognizing Common Overtime Pay Violations

Unfortunately, overtime pay violations are not uncommon. Whether your employer denied you overtime pay intentionally or unintentionally, you should discuss your situation with a trusted New York employment law attorney to understand your rights and the potential remedies available to you under state or federal laws. Below are just a few of the ways in which an employer may violate an employee’s right to receive overtime pay.

Employee Misclassification

An employer may misclassify their employees as “exempt” in order to avoid paying them overtime. If you think that your employer has misclassified you as an exempt employee instead of a nonexempt employee, discuss your concerns with your employment law attorney to identify potential next steps.

Off-the-Clock Work

Sometimes, an employer may require employees to complete job-related duties “off the clock.” For instance, they may expect you to answer emails or finish paperwork outside of regular work hours, even though these tasks fall under the umbrella of your employee duties. Your employment law attorney can help you determine whether you qualify for overtime pay for completing off-the-clock tasks at your employer’s request.

Counting Errors in Calculating Hours Worked

If your employer overlooks some of the hours you worked, they could deny you the overtime pay you deserve. For example, they may fail to include the hours you spent attending mandatory training or completing other job-related duties. In some cases, an employer may manipulate the overtime hours by averaging hours over several weeks, which leads to less overtime pay. No matter what the specifics of your situation may be, you can trust that working with a skilled and experienced New York employment law attorney is the best way to defend your rights and recover the compensation you’re owed.

If you believe your employer owes you overtime pay or you have additional questions about your rights as an employee in New York, reach out to the dedicated and experienced legal team at Levy Ratner by calling (212) 627-8100. One of our highly qualified employment law attorneys is ready to review your case and determine the most strategic path forward.