Though a 40-hour work week is commonly considered full time, the United States Department of Labor reports that the Fair Labor Standards Act – a document that outlines the basic work laws, including minimum wage and overtime pay, for U.S. employees – does not define full-time employment or part-time employment. In New York, like in all states, each employer may use its own discretion to define what constitutes employment as full time or part time.
The New York State Department of Labor imposes no limits on the number of hours employees can work per day, although they must give employees that work a shift of more than six hours at least one uninterrupted 30-minute lunch break, though they do not have to pay for this break. No limits exist how early an adult employee can start working or how late in the day an adult employee can work. However, the state does require that employers give employees 24 hours of rest per calendar week in certain places of employment, including factories, mercantile establishments and restaurants.
Though the New York State Department of Labor doesn't define full-time hours, it does define overtime hours. If nonresidential employees – any employees who don't live at their workplace – in New York work more than 40 hours in a single payroll week, employers must distribute overtime pay. Overtime applies to residential, or “live-in,” employees after 44 hours.
According to 2012 reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the latest available, the average employee on a private, nonfarm payroll in the state of New York worked 34 hours per week. Hours varied per industry; for instance, the average New Yorker working in manufacturing worked 40 hours per week, while those working in the leisure and hospitality industries worked an average of 27.4 hours per week. New York's average falls closely in line with the national average of 34.6 hours per week, according to the same BLS data.
Like all states, New York requires employers to pay both part- and full-time employees a minimum wage. In 2017, New York had four categories of minimum wage rates for different regions and industries, with wage increases calibrated to give various types of businesses enough time to adjust. For each category, the state has a specified rate with annual increases bringing the rate up to $15 per hour over the next three years.
Currently, large employers with 11 or more employees must pay a mandated minimum wage of $13 per hour, with a required increase to $15 per hour effective as of 12/31/18. Small employers, those with 10 or less headcount, must pay $13.50 per hour through the end of 2018, with an increase to $15 per hour minimum wage by 12/31/19. All businesses in Long Island and Westchester areas of New York pay $12 per hour through 2018, with a $1 per-year increase until 2021, when the minimum per-hour wage will hit $15. For the remainder of New York state employers, minimum wage sits at $11.10 per hour through 12/31/18, with increases to $12.50 per hour by the end of 2020.