Legal Guide for Employees in New York City

This is a guide to employment laws that apply to employees who work within the city of New York. Some employment law is also made at the federal level. Be sure to check out our Guide to the Law for Employees in the U.S.

Where the state and local laws are more protective of employees, these apply instead of the federal laws. See more about the hierarchy of law at our Legal Basics.

First, be sure you are an “employee”

You should make sure you really are an “employee” rather than an independent contractor aka “freelancer.” If you are an independent contractor, most employment laws do NOT apply to you. See our Freelancer/Independent Contractor page for more.

What is the minimum wage in NYC?

Throughout the state of New York, minimum wage is $15/hour beginning January 1, 2020.

Do Delivery Workers in NYC Have a Higher Minimum Wage?

Yes, beginning July 12, 2023, the minimum wage for delivery workers in New York City is $17.96, not including tips. This applies to workers who deliver takeout food, groceries, and other goods, through apps like Uber Eats, Grub Hub, DoorDash, PostMates, and Instacart.

Delivery drivers and cyclists (or however they get around) will eventually get a minimum wage of at least $19.96 an hour in 2025, or more, based on inflation.

The new law allows delivery companies to meet the minimum pay requirements in two different ways. They can either pay a flat hourly rate; or pay per delivery, at a rate of about 50 cents per minute, not including tips.

Am I entitled to overtime pay?

Workers who make less than a certain amount are entitled to “overtime pay.” Overtime pay generally kicks in after you work more than 40 hours in a week. For these extra hours, you would get 1.5 times the normal pay.

In New York, workers who make less than about $50,000 per year are entitled to overtime pay. If you make more than that, you may be “exempt” and thus not be entitled to overtime pay, unless you have an employment agreement that entitles you to overtime pay.

Is it illegal for my employer to discriminate against me?

In New York City, employers may not discriminate against employees on the basis of certain characteristics. In particular, it is illegal to take discriminatory actions towards people on the basis of their hair. See more at the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCHR).

Is it illegal for an employer to ask a job applicant about anything?

In New York City, employers may not ask about anything that may be seen as discriminatory. Also, employers are specifically prohibited from asking a potential or prospective employee about prior salary or any salary history.

Resources

Here are some options to find a good employment lawyer.

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