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New York Employment Law Attorneys Shed Light on Daily and Weekly Hour Restrictions


Understanding applicable wage and hour laws is key to your career

At Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth, PLLC, we know that the success of an organization depends directly on its employees’ hard work and dedication. Many organizations lean heavily upon employees to complete tasks, manufacture products or provide key services. In this way, the organization is able to turn a profit. Unfortunately, many employees feel taken advantage of when their employers require them to work long hours. Under state law, however, the employer is legally authorized to do so.

In New York state, employers have the legal authority to request employees to:

  • Work any number of hours in a day: New York employers are not restricted in the number of hours they require employees to work each day. This means that an employer may legally ask an individual to work shifts of 8, 10, 12 or more hours each day. Each organization has the legal ability to designate shift lengths and alter them as necessary.

  • Work any number of hours each week: Employers are not restricted to a 40-hour work week. This means that your employer has the authority to require you to work more than 40 hours in a given calendar week. Of course, overtime laws apply to any hours over 40 worked in a calendar week.

  • Man any shift: Your employer has the legal ability to require you to work any shift and any hours throughout the day or night. It is up to each organization to set standard shift hours and to decide the number of shifts in operation each day. Organizations also have the right to terminate or reassign any employee refusing to work an assigned shift. 

These laws apply only to employees over the age of 18 – children under the age of 18 are limited in the number of hours and the time of day in which they can be required to work.

Exceptions to the rule do exist

While it is true that businesses can ask employees to work any number of hours during the day, there are certain industries in which the employee must be offered a 24-hour long break between shifts each week.

  • Employees who must be offered this 24 hour break period each week include:

  • Factory workers

  • Security guards and watchmen

  • Elevator operators

  • Retail staff

  • Certain hotel employees

  • Janitorial staff

These are but a few examples of employees who must receive a 24-hour break during each calendar week. It is important to note that other employees qualify, and that some employees in these categories may not qualify based on their unique employment situations and employers.

Overtime laws do apply

While it is true that your employer has the ability to require you to work more than 40 hours each week, it is also true that you must be compensated at the predetermined overtime rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 in a given calendar week.

Your employer may also wish to offer hourly incentives to work specific shifts or a given number of hours in a day. These incentives are not required by law, however, and are at the discretion of each organization.

Discuss your wage and hour concerns during a free consultation with one of our New York employment law attorneys

If you feel that you are being taken advantage of by an employer who refuses to adhere to overtime wage laws, it is important to speak to an attorney immediately. The New York employment lawyers at Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth, PLLC are committed to helping you understand New York hour and wage laws, and your options for pursuing resolutions to complex disputes with your employer. Contact us online or call 212-545-1199 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case with one of our New York employment law attorneys.




Contact an employment law attorney in New York today for a free initial consultation and determine whether you have a case. For a free initial consultation, you can contact us online or by phone.

CALL US TODAY! 212-545-1199