NY State Labor Laws
Host families are considered household employers, and homepairs their household employers (not independent contractors). Read our guide on Nanny Taxes to understand what this means in terms of your tax requirements.
STATE LABOR LAW REQUIREMENTS
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides the framework for federal and state wage and hour laws (which household employees such as homepairs are protected by). New York can supplement the federal law with additional state and municipal labor law, which includes the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.
Pay Frequency and Records
Household employers are required to pay their employees on a weekly basis. Household employers are also required to maintain accurate payroll records and provide their employee with a breakdown of their weekly pay (which should detail gross wages, net wages paid after tax withholding, hours worked including overtime, the hourly rate for normal and overtime, the employee’s name and address).
The minimum wage for New York state is $11.80 per hour. Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester County minimum wage is $13.00 per hour, New York City minimum wage is $15.00 per hour (all effective as of 12/31/2019).
Household employees are protected by overtime laws set by the FLSA and some additional laws set by New York, as follows:
- Live-in employees should be paid at least 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked over 44 in a workweek
- A workweek is defined as 44 hours in a 7-day period
- Overtime is not required to be paid on a holiday
On call / Sleep time
Household employers do not need to count normal sleeping hours as hours worked for live-in employees, even if they are required to be ‘on-call’ during that time. The FLSA gives additional guidance on this topic:
- If live-in employees receive at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep during ‘on call’ time, those hours are exempt as hours worked (the ‘8 hour sleep exemption’)
- Anytime a live-in employee’s sleep is interrupted whilst on-call, that time is classified as hours worked and must be paid as normal
- If a live-in employee receives less than 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, all 8 hours must be classified as hours worked and be paid
- Minimum Wage and Overtime rules apply as normal
- Employers should include this ‘8 hour sleep exemption’ rule in their written agreement with the employee
Employees must be granted one day of rest per week. If an employee agrees to work on the 7th day, all hours worked must be paid at the overtime rate.
New York household employers are required to provide paid days off after a year of employment. 1 day for employees working less than 19 hours a week, 2 days between 20 – 29 hours per week, and 3 days for 30 hours or more.
Paid Sick Leave
Household employers are required to provide 3 days paid sick leave per the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. In addition, household employers in New York City must provide a further 2 days to any employee that has worked more than 80 hours in a calendar year. Other details to be aware of are:
- Unused sick time does not have to be paid out at termination.
- Employers can choose if unused sick leave carries over to the next year and can limit sick leave to 40 hours per year
- Employees must be able to see their accrued sick leave each pay period
New York household employers are required to provide a written termination notice to their employee if they are fired or laid off (given no later than 5 days after termination).
Sexual Harassment Prevention Laws
All employers in New York must provide a sexual harassment prevention policy and training to all employees. Household employers can log in here for access to training modules and further information.
Workers Compensation Insurance
Household employers must have a Workers Compensation Insurance policy (WCI), which assists with medical expenses and lost wages if an employee has a work-related injury or illness. It also provides protection to the employer since workers who accept benefits generally forfeit their right to sue the employer regardless of fault.
You can shop around for household employer WCI at any NY state-licensed insurance broker.
The information is not intended to be providing legal or tax advice, and should not be relied upon without the advice and guidance of your professional tax or legal advisor.
Information last updated 3/24/2019