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Does my employer have to pay me on time?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2022 | Employment Law |

For thousands of people who commute into the city every day, time is money, and getting paid on time is critical to being able to take care of the rent or mortgage. Almost every state has payday laws that guarantee the frequency and regularity of pay for workers in most sectors and require weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly payments.

Payday laws are among many other wage and hour protections that employees rely on to shield them from wage theft violations and other illegal practices by employers. For workers in New York City, it can help knowing how both state and federal laws protect them and having effective legal advocacy when taking action is necessary.

New York frequency of payment laws

Under New York labor laws, Section 191 covers all private-sector employers, with protections for most employees, including those who work in charter and private schools as well as nonprofit entities. Independent contractors do not have payday guarantees.

These laws also make payment distinctions between different types of employment and include specific criteria for each category, including:

  • Manual workers: weekly, and for nonprofit entities not less than semi-monthly.
  • Railroad workers: on or before Thursday of each week.
  • Commission salespersons: not less often than monthly.
  • Executives, administrators and professionals: does not apply to bona fide employees who earn more than $900 per week.
  • Clerical and other workers: not less frequently than semi-monthly.

Large employers who have more than 1,000 workers can request permission to pay them on a bi-weekly basis, but if the workers are represented by a union, the employer must negotiate with the labor organization. Under these labor laws, employers must pay wages in full and cannot require their employees to accept other frequencies of pay.

Every pay statement must have certain information pertaining to the employee earnings and overtime, and include:

  • Date of pay period.
  • Names of employee and employer name, address and phone number.
  • Pay rate that is hourly, by shift, daily, weekly, or by salary or commission.
  • Gross and net wages.
  • Overtime, if applicable.

Last payment requirements 

An employee who whose job has ended due to termination, resignation, or retirement must receive their final paycheck by the date on which the next paycheck would be due. If the employee requests that the employer mail the final paycheck, the employer must comply. The employer, however, may also give the departing employee their wages at the time of termination or on another date before the final scheduled payment day.