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New York employees often bring overtime claims under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the New York Labor Law (NYLL). While there are similarities and overlap between the two laws, they also differ in critical respects. One such difference relates to overtime exemptions. While some employees are exempt under both statutes, others may be exempt only under one or the other. An example of this is the motor carrier exemption, which appears in the FLSA but not the NYLL.

The recent Second Circuit case, Hayward v. IBI Armored Servs., No. 19-1863-CV, 2020 WL 1647176 (2d Cir. Apr. 3, 2020), addresses whether and to what extent employees who satisfy the motor carrier exemption can still bring overtime claims under the NYLL. In a per curiam opinion, Second Circuit Judges Susan Carney, Dennis Jacobs, and Rosemary Pooler held that while New York law precludes those employees from recovering overtime at one and one-half times their hourly wage, employers remain obligated to pay overtime at one and one-half times the minimum wage. This decision could have far reaching implications as it theoretically applies to all overtime disputes involving exemptions under §13 of the FLSA, not just motor carrier exemption cases.

Overtime Exemptions Under the FLSA and NYLL

Under the FLSA and the NYLL, employees are generally entitled to overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Overtime is typically calculated at one and one-half times the employee’s hourly rate. This is referred to as “time and one-half.”

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