Employees should be paid for any time they are required to be in the restaurant.
When determining hours worked, an employer must include not only the hours you spent doing job duties, but any other hour in which the employee is on the employer’s premises by their request. This includes:
- Time spent setting up, cleaning up, or waiting for customers to arrive.
- Time spent in required training.
- Time spent dressing in required uniforms or gear, and time spent walking from the changing area to the place of work.
- Time spent in rest periods or breaks that are less than 20 minutes long.
Employers are not required to pay employees for meal periods which typically last 30 minutes or longer. However, if the employee is “engaged” with work during the meal period, they must be paid. A common violation of law committed by restaurants is requiring their employees to clock out but continue working. Employees are required to be paid for this “off the clock” work.
In New York, an employee who by request or permission of the employer reports for duty on any day, whether or not assigned to actual work, must be paid:
- for at least three hours for one shift, or the number of hours in the regularly scheduled shift, whichever is less;
- for at least six hours for two shifts totaling six hours or less, or the number of hours in the regularly scheduled shift, whichever is less; and
- for at least eight hours for three shifts totaling eight hours or less, or the number of hours in the regularly scheduled shift, whichever is less.