New York Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Under New York Labor Law Section 160(3) and 161 and the New York Compilation of Codes and Regulations Title 12 Section 142-2-2, employers must provide mandatory overtime pay for residential workers working in excess of 44 hours in one workweek or non-residential workers working in excess of 40 hours in one week. Federal and state laws defined the workweek as seven consecutive days usually beginning on a Monday and ending the following Sunday. However, employers may alter the definition of the workweek as is necessary with the nature of the job as long as the alterations are consistent and are not in an attempt to evade paying overtime. Overtime is calculated at one and one-half of the worker’s regular pay.

While New York has enacted some legislation with respect to mandatory meal and rest breaks, those provisions only apply to workers in the factory, mercantile and manufacturing industries. For nurses, meal and rest breaks are covered under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which does not require that an employer provide an employee with rest or meal breaks. Employers are within their rights to require an employee to eat while on the job if the job requirements support such a situation. If an employer contracts with his employee to provide for short rest breaks, typically less than 20 minutes, the employer must compensate the employee during the break.
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