New York Labor Laws

New York Labor Law Breaks

The state of New York is one of eleven states that require employers to provide meal breaks during an eight-hour shift. These meal breaks are usually not paid, unless stipulated by company policy, and are usually one hour long. Employees are usually required to work no more than six hours before taking a meal break. Some companies and businesses allow employees to be paid while on meal breaks, while others only allow thirty-minute meal breaks.

Employees who work shifts longer than six hours are entitled to a break of either thirty minutes or forty-five minutes. For individuals whose shifts begin before 11 a.m. and end after 7 p.m., an additional 20 minutes between 5 and 7 p.m.

Factory workers are subject to different rules. For shifts longer than 6 hours, starting between 1 p.m. and 6 a.m., they are given a 1-hour break between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., or a 60-minute break in the middle of the shift.

New York Maternity Leave

Federal law does not allow employees to be laid off due to the necessity of leave. Under New York state law and federal law, employees are entitled to take an unpaid leave of absence for the purposes of medical or family care. An employee cannot be terminated for needing to take leave nor can an employee be terminated due to pregnancy.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act under federal law also allows expectant employees job protection while expecting and on maternity leave. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 protects employee occupations. Upon returning to work an employee on leave is entitled to his or her prior occupation or occupation of the same salary and benefits. An employer has the right to hire a temporary employee to handle the employee on leave’s duties but is then required to terminate the temporary employee after the allotted time period.

Each employee is allowed up to twelve weeks of necessary leave each year. This leave is always unpaid and must be taken consecutively. Family and medical leave cannot be spread out throughout the year. The necessities for family and medical leave include maternity leave, caring for an elderly parent, caring for an ill child, hospitalization, or any other extended need for psychological or medical purposes. Maternity leave includes caring for a newborn as well as allowing adoptive parents to bond with a new child. Paternity leave is also available in most cases.

Holiday Pay

New York does not have a law requiring employees to be paid for working holidays. New York also does not have a law requiring employers to allow employees time off for holidays. According to federal law companies and businesses can legally be open three hundred sixty-five days a year, requiring employees to work holidays and all weekdays. Federal law and New York state law also do not require employees to be paid more for working holidays.

Businesses and companies have the right to allow employees to take holidays off, pay employees more for working holidays, and allow employees to choose which holidays they would like to work. Underwritten company policy employers are required to fulfill this obligation if offered. Federal holidays also do not apply to companies and businesses. Federal holidays are mandated for government agencies and post offices only. If companies and businesses wish to allow employees federal holidays off, it is at their own discretion.

If an employer allows an employee to be off for a holiday and that employee works more than forty hours that week, he or she most often will not qualify for overtime pay. In these cases, the holiday pay will cancel out the overtime worked.


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