Wages and work hours are often a bone of contention in many employment law cases in New York, as well as in the rest of the country. However, wage-and-hour disputes can be avoided by both employers and employees, if they understand the relevant information about wage laws and when to communicate essential information to each other.
One of the most important pieces of information that workers and employers should be aware of is regarding the minimum wage. In New York, the minimum wage is set at $8 per hour. That minimum wage became effective last December 31, 2013. Nonetheless, the amount is due to increase in the next two years.
This year, also on December 31, the minimum wage will increase to $8.75. In 2015, the amount will be $9 per hour. Farm workers, growers and food processors are governed by similar wage standards, but for more specific data, the state’s labor department can provide further information.
In terms of withheld or unpaid wages, a worker may file a claim to the state labor department. The agency will investigate incidences of unpaid or withheld wages and any illegal deductions. The agency will also investigate if an employer has withheld employees’ tips or has taken illegal kickbacks. When filing a claim, an employee may also seek legal assistance from an employment law professional since such claims can be very complicated.
In addition to wages, “fringe benefits” or wage supplements are also a topic of many employment disputes. Some of the more common wage supplements include paid sick leave, holiday or vacation pay and reimbursement of any expenses incurred for the company. Employers are required by law to notify their workers, by publicly posting policies or in writing regarding work benefits and policies. If a New York employer fails to provide benefits to which the worker is entitled, the employee can be charged with a misdemeanor.
Source: Labor.ny.gov, “Wage and Hour Law,” accessed on Oct. 27, 2014