When it comes to conflict between management and the workers doing the job, hours worked and paid are always a part of it. How much people work and their pay rate are central reasons workers formed unions in the first place. For the most part, the law backs up workers, but it pays to understand those national and state-level laws.
The Fair Labor Standards Act
The federal law – passed originally as part of the New Deal – is the guiding law that employers across the country must follow. It sets the basic national standards for:
- Minimum wage
- Employment of minors
Those may not seem revelatory to people today, but upon their passage, the nation finally had a labor standard for employees. These became standards that labor unions fought their employers for and protected. In many ways, that fight continues. Most states, including New York – which has a strong union presence – have additional wage and hour laws.
State and local laws
Minimum wage is one of the prime examples of labor law variability. For example, in New York City, the minimum wage is $13.50 or $15.00, depending on the size of the company. In Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau counties, the rate is $12.00, but the rest of the state sits at $11.10. These pay rates are well above the federal minimum wage of 7.25.
New York also regulates the number and length of breaks that workers have, ensuring that everyone gets a break from their work at some point.
Violations of the law
With the law behind you, you absolutely can fight for the just pay and the benefits you deserve. If you’ve been forced to work without pay, if you’ve been pushed into overtime situations you didn’t agree to, if you’ve worked without breaks, you deserve to take action.