All employees are entitled to a 30-minute break within the ‘noonday’ period of 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
All employees are entitled to a 30-minute break per 6 hours worked continuously. If this 6 hours worked includes the ‘noonday’ period, the 30 minute break should be taken within this period.
An employee working for a period of time beginning before 11 a.m. and ending after 7 p.m. is entitled to an additional break of at least 20 minutes between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Any employee working for a period of 6 hours or more starting between 1 p.m. and 6 a.m. is entitled to a 60-minute break when employed by a factory. Other types of employees working shifts starting between these hours are entitled to a 45-minute break.
Shorter break periods than those outlined above can only be permitted if expressly allowed by the commissioner and for the commissioner to allow this there must be special circumstances. For example, if there is only one person on duty, or only one person in a particular occupation, as long as that person voluntarily agrees to the arrangement, it is legal for them not to be relieved from their duties until the end of their shift, and to eat a meal while working if they wish to. It is important to note, however, that this cannot be enforced – if an employee wishes to take the break they are entitled to, their employer is legally required to allow this without penalizing the employee for taking the break.
Employers are not required by law to give their employees vacation leave in New York.
Employers can, however, choose to give their employees vacation benefits. Vacation leave can be paid or unpaid.
If an employer does choose to give his/her employees vacation leave, there are a number of legal requirements they must comply with.
Firstly, the employer must have an established policy outlining the leave their employees are entitled to, and the terms of this leave. This policy should be included in the employees’ contracts, or an employee handbook or similar document, and the employer, as well as the employees, must comply with this policy.
Secondly, if either the employer’s vacation leave policy states it, or is silent on the matter, if an employee leaves the company, for whatever reason, the employer must pay the employee for any accrued vacation leave.
Employers are entitled to place a reasonable limit on the amount of vacation leaves an employee can accrue, as long as they give their employees notice before implementing this policy/before new employees start working for them. They are also entitled to implement a ‘use it or lose it’ policy, again as long as they notify their employees of this policy before the employees are affected by it. This policy means if an employee has not used their vacation allowance by a certain date, as long as the employee has been given a reasonable amount of time to take their vacation allowance, they cannot carry over the leave into the next vacation period specified by their employer.
Employers are not required by law to give their employees sick leave in New York. If an employer does choose to give his/her employees sick leave, the employer must have an established policy outlining the sick leave their employees are entitled to, and the terms of this leave.
The only instance where employers in New York may be required to give their employees unpaid sick leave is under the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws
Jury Duty Leave
Employers who employ 11 or more people must pay the first $40 of an employee’s daily wages for the first three days that they are summoned to perform jury duty. For any further days spent performing jury duty, employers are not required to pay the employee.
If an employee is called upon to perform jury duty, their employer cannot dismiss, threaten or intimidate them, or punish them in any other way for being summoned, or responding to a summons, to perform jury duty, provided that the employee gives them notice of the beginning of the period when they will be performing jury duty.
All employees in New York are entitled to adequate time off work to cast their vote on election or voting days. AN employee is considered to have been given adequate time to vote if they have 4 hours consecutively off work while the polling stations are open. However, employers must only pay their employees for the first 2 hours of voting leave taken. If employees wish to take voting leave, they must inform they employer no more than 10 days and no less than 2 days before the election or voting day. No less than 10 working days prior to voting days, employers must post a notice informing employees of these rights in a visible, conspicuous place in the place of work.
By law, employers do not have to provide their employees with bereavement leave, which refers to leave taken when someone close to the employee, usually a close relative, dies. Employers can choose to give their employees bereavement leave, or leave to attend funerals if they wish, and if they do choose to implement a bereavement policy, they may be required to comply with it.