As everyone knows, in November 2016 a federal judge blocked the US Department of Labor regulations that would have raised the salary threshold for employees to be exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). By way of background, in order to be exempt from overtime (time-and-one-half for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek) under the executive, administrative and professional exemptions, an employee must meet both a duties test, pertaining to the type of job functions performed (discussed here), as well as be paid a minimum salary. Under the current federal regulations, the minimum payment is $455 per week, which is quite a low number– amounting to only $23,660 annually. The blocked overtime rule would have more than doubled the current federal salary basis threshold for these exempt employees. Does this mean that an employer can continue to exempt an employee from overtime compensation by paying the paltry sum of $455 per week, assuming that the employee meets the duties test? The answer is: Nope, not in New York (with some exceptions). Let me explain.
The key is that in New York, in order to classify an employee as exempt, an employer must pay the minimum salary threshold of the FLSA or the New York Labor Law, whichever is greater. In other words, the federal threshold is a floor, not a ceiling. And New York has a higher minimum threshold than its federal analog, at least for now. New York implemented its own state-level increase in the salary threshold last year, providing for additional increases for the next few years in the minimum salary threshold that will be required for an employee to be exempt from overtime.
The following are the minimum thresholds applicable in New York (including the dates such thresholds take effect):
For employers in New York City with fewer than 11 employees:
- December 31, 2017 – $900 per week
- December 31, 2018 – $1,012.50 per week
- December 31, 2019 – $1,125 per week
For employers in New York City with 11 or more employees:
- December 31, 2017 – $975 per week
- December 31, 2018 – $1,125 per week
For employers in Long Island and Westchester:
- December 31, 2017 – $825 per week
- December 31, 2018 – $900 per week
- December 31, 2019 – $975 per week
- December 31, 2020 – $1,050 per week
- December 31, 2021 – $1,125 per week
For employers throughout the rest of New York State:
- December 31, 2017 – $780 per week
- December 31, 2018 – $832.50 per week
- December 31, 2019 – $885 per week
- December 31, 2020 – $937.50 per week
- December 31, 2021 – to be determined
It is important to keep in mind that in New York, the applicable rules do not provide a salary requirement for the professional (learned professional and creative professional) exemptions. Thus, the thresholds above apply to administrative and executive employees. Employees exempt under the professional exemption must receive the (lower) minimum salary specified by the FLSA.
What is the bottom line? If an administrative or executive employee in New York is paid less than the above-listed minimum thresholds and works more than 40 hours a week, the employee must receive time-and-one-half for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
Call Braverman Law Today to Speak with a New York Wage and Hour Attorney
If you believe that you were unfairly denied overtime pay, speak to an attorney as soon as you can. Overtime violations can result in you losing thousands of dollars, so always seek help from a law firm that is ready to stand up for your rights. Braverman Law PC is committed to ensuring that employees obtain the compensation they earned under the law. To review your case with a New York wage and hour lawyer, call our office today at (212) 206-8166 or send us an email through our online contact form.