In the United States, working long hours typically comes with a reward. However, the difference between federal and New York state overtime laws can be confusing to understand. Look over these general guidelines for the state of New York to make sure you are being compensated fairly.

Overtime pay rate

The federal government imposes an overtime rate of 1.5 times the employee’s normal rate of pay for time worked over 40 hours per week. Generally, all employers should adhere to this rule.

However, under federal law, certain occupations are exempt from receiving overtime. These occupations may be eligible to receive overtime under New York law. However, state law would only allow exempt employees to earn overtime at a rate of 1.5 times the state minimum wage.

Hours to begin making overtime

The number of hours that must be worked to earn overtime can vary. Typically, employees must have worked 40 hours over the course of a work week (7 consecutive 24-hour periods) to be eligible to begin making overtime. However, certain residential employees or domestic workers may need to work over 44 hours in a workweek.

Overtime is earned based on weekly hours worked, meaning employees cannot receive overtime for working long hours in a day if their total work week equates to 40 hours or less.

Overtime pay for holidays, weekends or nights

Employers are not entitled to pay overtime for holidays, weekends or nights in New York. However, an employee could potentially make a negotiation with an employer to secure this privilege.

Employees who are exempt from receiving overtime

The following are a few examples of occupations that may be considered exempt from the overtime pay provisions of both federal and state labor law:

  • Farm laborers
  • Certain volunteers, interns and apprentices
  • Taxicab drivers
  • Individuals working for religious groups or certain charitable institutions
  • Camp counselors
  • Individuals working for a fraternity/sorority, student or faculty association
  • Part-time baby sitters

Overtime misunderstandings and miscalculations can be common. Employers may encourage employees to work off the clock or unfairly assign the same duties of permanent employees to independent contractors.

If your employer misunderstood the rules, you may still be entitled to receive back pay. Contact a lawyer familiar with New York employment law to discuss your options.