New York state labor laws do not limit how many hours a day or in a week that your employer can schedule you to work. These laws also do not limit how early or how late you work. However, the laws allow for overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in a given week, and require your employer to pay you more for every hour in excess of 10 that you work in a day.
Just because you work more than eight hours in a day, or stay beyond your scheduled shift, doesn’t automatically qualify you to earn overtime pay. You qualify for overtime pay, according to New York state labor laws, if you work more than 40 hours in a week. Then, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires your employer to pay you at least one-and-a-half times your regular rate of pay for every hour in excess of 40 you work that week. In New York, live-in workers, such as a home health care aide, must work 44 hours in a given week before qualifying for overtime pay.
Nurses and Overtime
New York labor laws offer additional protections to nurses. The state’s Restrictions on Consecutive Hours of Work for Nurses bars an employer from forcing a nurse to work more than the hours she has agreed to. However, the law allows nurses to volunteer to work beyond their scheduled shifts. The law does not mandate how much an employer should pay a nurse if she agrees to work in excess of her scheduled hours.
The 10-Hour Rule
Work more than 10 hours in a single day, or work a split shift, and New York labor laws require your employer to pay you an extra hour for each hour in excess of 10 hours that you work. For example, if you work 11 hours, then your employer must pay you for 12 hours of work. This 10-hour spread of hours counts any breaks you get, including meal breaks. For example, if you are scheduled for 11 hours of work, but you take a one-hour unpaid meal break, your employer must pay you for 11 hours – the 10 hours you worked and the extra hour because you were scheduled to be on site for 11 hours. The financial benefit of working more than 10 hours in a single day may make working past your scheduled shift attractive.
Required Rest Periods
New York labor laws mandate that you get at least one full 24-hour period off each week if you work in specific industries or have certain occupations. For example, work in a factory, most hotels and restaurants, as a watchman, elevator operator or as a superintendent, and the law applies to you. The law only applies to people who work in a qualifying industry. If staying past a scheduled shift puts this mandatory 24-hour rest period at risk, tell your employer or manager.
New York labor laws also specify how many hours and when a minor can work during the school day when school is in session, when school is not in session and the night before a school day. New York defines a minor as someone who is 17 and under. For example, 16- and 17-year olds cannot work between 10 p.m. and midnight the night before a school day without written permission from a parent or guardian. Also, 14- and 15-year-olds cannot work more than 3 hours on a school day or more than 18 hours in a week. Before scheduling a minor to work, or asking a minor to stay past a scheduled shift, employers should familiarize themselves with New York’s labor laws. Violations can result in hefty fines.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.