New York State law requires most employers to pay manual workers on a weekly basis. If you perform manual work and you are not paid each week, you may be eligible to recover damages equal to the pay you received late, plus interest and attorneys’fees.  
New York’s Untimely Wage Law
Under New York Labor Law Section 191, which applies to all private employers, manual workers generally must be paid weekly and not later than seven calendar days after the end of the week in which they earned their wages. That means if you work Monday through Friday, the wages you earned for that workweek must be paid no later than the following Friday. Manual workers employed by nonprofit organizations must be paid no less frequently than semi-monthly (twice a month). Large employers of manual workers may apply for and be granted permission from the Commissioner of Labor to pay manual workers on a semi-monthly basis. 
How Are Manual Workers Defined? 
In New York, a manual worker is generally defined as a “mechanic, workingman, or laborer.” Whether someone qualifies as a manual laborer is fact-specific based on the individual’s job duties, but typically includes individuals who spend more than 25% of their time performing physical tasks, such as lifting boxes, sweeping floors, stocking shelves, or standing or walking for significant periods of time. 
Enforcing the Law
The pay frequency requirement has been in place for more than a century, but until recently it was exclusively enforced by the New York Department of Labor with modest fines for non-compliant employers. However, a ruling in a 2019 case, Vega v. CM & Associates Construction Management, opened the door for workers to sue their employers directly for violating the untimely wage law. 
How Damages Are Calculated
Say a manual worker earns $750 per week but instead of being paid weekly is paid $1,500 every two weeks. Even if the employee ultimately received all of their wages, the employee may be entitled to recover $750 in damages for every week in which their pay was delayed – which, in this case, would be $750 every other week ($19,500 per year, which equals half of the employee’s annual salary). Since the statute of limitations in New York is six years, employees can recover damages for late payments going back six years from the day they file their lawsuit. 
Why This Law Is in Place
Being paid every two weeks can impose a hardship on manual workers who may live paycheck to paycheck and depend on a weekly income to cover living costs and pay bills. Low and moderate wage earners who must wait an extra week to receive their wages may experience added stress and incur unnecessary financial burdens, such as late fees or additional interest payments, which would not occur had they been paid every week. The goal of the untimely wage law is to get earned pay into the hands of these workers faster to avoid these negative and needless consequences. 
Have you been paid properly?
If you believe you have not been paid your wages properly in accordance with the law, contact an employment attorney at Katz Melinger PLLC at 212-460-0047 or online.The post New York’s Untimely Wage Law: Are You Being Paid Properly? first appeared on Katz Melinger PLLC.