Everyone who works has a right to fair hourly as well as overtime pay. Every worker is entitled to earn at least the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage for an employee who has health insurance from his or her employer is $7.25 per hour and $8.25 per hour with no health insurance. Most states have their own minimum wage regulations. If the state minimum wage is lower than the federal one, the federal minimum wage applies. If the state minimum wage is higher, the employees enjoy the state rates.
The basic minimum wage in the state of New York is $8.75 per hour effective December 31, 2014. On December 31, 2015 it increases to $9.00 per hour. The state of New York is actively promoting gradual increase of minimum wage in different industries – see, for instance, its recent decision to increase а minimum wage in fast-food industry to $15 per hour during the next several years.
The minimum salary and overtime pay regulations apply to all workers, even if they are undocumented or paid hourly, daily, weekly, in cash, or off the books. There are some exceptions for youth, farmers and workers who receive gratuities. Employees who work in hospitality business (hotels, restaurants, catering etc.) and earn at least $3.75 per hour in tips can have a lower minimum wage of $5.00 per hour.
Most workers are covered by the minimum wage requirements. Those who are not covered include:
- Executives, managers, professionals who earn at least $455 a week
- Outside salespersons
- Taxi drivers
- Government employees
- Part-time babysitters
- Ministers and members of religious orders
- Volunteers and students working in nonprofit organizations
- Students who are getting their vocational experience
Until recently, home care workers who care about elderly and disabled persons were not covered either.
Independent contractors are not covered by the minimum wage regulations, since they are not considered to be “employees.”