Here's everything you need to know about the right-to-work law, at-will employment and these mean in New York.
The right-to-work law, which is also known as the Workplace Freedom or Workplace Choice law, is a law that grants workers the right to choose whether or not they'd like to join a union in their workplace. Likewise, it also makes it optional for workers already in unionized workplaces to pay union dues and other membership fees that are required for union representation (whether they're involved in the union or not).
Every state with the exception of Montana is an at-will employment state. Under the at-will employment policy, either the employer or the employee can terminate employment at any time for any reason (unless it's illegal and proven wrongful termination, which is hard to do) without consequence — unless the employee has a contract or a union agreement that states otherwise.
New York is not currently a right-to-work state. This means that employees are required to pay union dues as a condition for employment, whether or not they choose to participate in those unions.
New York is an at-will state, which means that you can be fired for any just reason at any time. Again, proving wrongful termination isn't always an easy feat, but your employer can only fire you for legal reasons.
Here are three important labor laws in New York of which you should be aware.
"From 12/31/2018 to 12/30/2019, the basic minimum wage is $11.10 per hour in most of New York State," according to the New York State Department of Labor. "There are different minimum wage rates for: the fast food industry; Long Island; Westchester County and large and small employers in New York City."
The New York State minimum wage actually increased on December 31, 2018. So, in New York City, the minimum wage is currently $13.50 per hour for businesses with 10 or fewer employees, and it's $15.00 per hour for businesses with 11 or more employees, according to the New York State Department of Labor. Meanwhile, in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, it is $12.00 per hour and, in the remainder of the state, it is $11.10 per hour.
There are different hourly rates for workers in the fast-food industry and those who receive tips. For more on these rates, you can check out the New York State Department of Labor's minimum wage information page here.
New York labor laws "require an employer to pay overtime to employees, unless otherwise exempt, at the rate of 1½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek," according to the Employment Law Handbook.
"New York State has rules that govern the time allowed for workers to eat during their shift on the job," according to the New York State Department of Labor.
Specifically, the law reads:
To learn more about employment laws in New York, check out these resources:
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.
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