New York Working Time and 4-day Workweek

January 8th 2024

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers.

The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

This article covers:

Laws and Regulations that Govern Employee Working Time in New York

Various laws and regulations govern employee working hours in New York.

The minimum wage in New York State varies depending on the employer’s location and size. As of December 31, 2016, the New York State Department of Labor aimed to stabilize the minimum wage at $15.00 per hour for all employees in the state, although certain areas still maintain a minimum wage of $14.20.

Employees who are not exempt are eligible to receive overtime compensation at a rate of 1.5 times their regular pay for any hours worked exceeding 40 in a single week.

Both private and public employees in New York are entitled to a meal break according to state law. These meal and rest periods differ based on employee occupation, as outlined in Section 162 of the New York labor laws, which is categorized into three groups: workers in factories, non-factory workers, and every employee (both factory and non-factory).

New York also has specific child labor laws that define permissible work hours, maximum daily and weekly hours, and restrictions for minors under 18 years of age.

Overtime in New York

Non-exempt employees in New York have the right to receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week. This entails getting compensated at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for any hours worked beyond the 40-hour threshold.

It’s essential to note that only regular payments are considered when calculating overtime compensation, excluding premium payments, expenses, gifts, or additional premiums like those for working on weekends or holidays.

The overtime rate law does not apply to government employers and employees at the federal, state, or local level. However, it does cover non-profit organizations, private and charter schools, as well as teachers in school districts. Residential employees or those whose responsibilities are tied to their employer’s premises become eligible for overtime pay only when they exceed 44 working hours per week.

Although New York labor laws do not mandate the payment of overtime wages for working on holidays or at night, employers are free to provide such compensation voluntarily. In such cases, the standard overtime rules will still apply.

Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in New York

Under New York state law, the overtime rate is governed by a combination of federal and state exceptions. 

Navigating the extensive list of exemptions, outlined in Section 651, can be quite overwhelming. Here are some of the most significant exceptions and exemptions to the overtime rate in New York State:

  • Executive, administrative, and Learned and creative professionals who earn at least $1,125 per week
  • Outside sales professionals
  • Farm laborers 
  • Volunteers, interns, and apprentices
  • Taxicab drivers 
  • Employees of religious and charitable organizations
  • Camp counselors 
  • Part-time babysitters
  • Employees of student organizations (such as fraternities, sororities, and faculty associations)
  • It is important to note that these exemptions are subject to change, so it is essential to regularly check for updates to the law.   

Learn more in detail about New York Overtime Laws.

New York 4-day Workweek

In 2022, both New York Governor Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams hinted at the possibility of a shorter work week, raising hopes among New Yorkers for the end of the traditional 5-day work week in the city. These suggestions arose in response to the significant changes in employment patterns brought on by the pandemic.

In 2021, as attempts were made to bring workers back to the office, the surge of the Omicron variant in December and the early months of the New Year disrupted those efforts.

As of February 2022, office vacancy rates reached a 40-year high at 20 percent due to the prevalence of remote work. The return-to-office progress, which had peaked at over 35 percent in early December 2021, sharply declined to just over 10 percent by January and has not yet recovered. 

As a result, in efforts to encourage office return at the Democratic Committee’s Nominating Convention, both Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul adopted a new approach, suggesting that the traditional 5-day week at the office may never fully return with increased flexibility or even a 3 1/2 day in-person arrangement and considering options like a 4-day work week. Adams reiterated this sentiment, mentioning the possibility of a 4-day week in a post-COVID New York during a conference.

Other cities, like California and London, are also contemplating the switch to a shorter work week, with the launch of various pilot programs, and hope remains for New Yorkers as California Representative Mark Takano is pushing to make it federal law.

Employing Minors in New York

The New York Division of Labor Standards has established regulations regarding the types of jobs minors can undertake and the number of hours they are permitted to work per day and week. These rules are designed to safeguard minors from physical, moral, and emotional hazards in the workplace. While minors are allowed to work in New York, there are specific conditions and guidelines they must follow.

Children under the age of 13 are not allowed to work unless they obtain a special permit issued by the Commissioner of Labor. Employers are required to provide a flexible schedule for minors, including fixed shifts and meal breaks. Although there are no specific laws regarding breaks for minors in New York, state law dictates that all employees, regardless of age, are entitled to a 30-minute break.

Laws on Working Hours for Minors in New York

Minors in New York aged 14 and 15 have specific restrictions on their working hours. They are not permitted to:

  • Work for more than 3 hours during a school day.
  • Work for more than 8 hours on a day when there is no school.
  • Work for more than 18 hours or 6 days in a week.

However, there are exceptions to these rules for certain minors working as babysitters, bridge caddies at bridge tournaments, farm laborers, newspaper carriers, performers, and models.

Learn more about New York Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.