What to Know About New York’s Spread of Hours Law

By Katherine Muniz
April 24, 2018

If you’re an employer in New York State, you may have questions about the “Spread of hours” law. This refers to the wage and hour protections that entitle service industry workers to an extra hour of pay when they work a “spread of hours” or split shift that exceeds 10 hours.

This article will outline everything you need to know about these regulations:

Who’s Covered by the Law

The Spread of Hours law (Title 12 NYCRR 142) is a New York state law that applies only to businesses within the service industry. If you are within this industry and employ hourly nonexempt employees, in instances when your nonexempt employees work a shift or split shifts that exceed 10 hours, they are owed a spread of hours payment.

Whose Entitled to a Spread of Hour Payment

New York’s spread of hours law provides that hourly, nonexempt employees whose workday begins and ends more than 10 hours apart are owed an extra hour of pay, known as a Spread of Hour rate.

According to split shift guidelines, “an employee shall receive one hour’s pay at the basic minimum hourly wage rate, in addition to the minimum wage for any day in which the ‘spread of hours’ exceeds 10 hours or there is a ‘split shift’.”

The spread includes all-time working, time off for meals, and any off-duty time during or between shifts.

Here are two examples that illustrate scenarios in which employees are owed a spread of hour payment:

Example #1: A restaurant worker works from 8 am – 8 pm with a three-hour unpaid break from 1 pm-4 pm (9 hours worked over a 12-hour spread). This entitles them to receive a spread of hours payment.

Example #2: A home healthcare aide works from 8 am – 7:30 pm with a one-hour meal break from 1 pm-2 pm (10.5 hours worked over an 11.5-hour spread). This entitles them to receive a spread of hours payment.

Regardless of whether the employee works a total of 10 hours, as long as their shift or split shift exceeds 10 hours, they are entitled to a spread of hours payment.

The “Spread of Hour” Rate

The “Spread of Hour” rate is the minimum wage rate employees are owed based on where they work, regardless of how much they make. For instance, in Upstate NY it is $11, whereas, in Long Island & Westchester, it’s $10.40.

A couple of other things to note about the spread of hour payment is that the hour of pay does not need to be included in overtime calculations. Additionally, regardless of the employee’s regular rate of pay, they are owed a spread of hours payment as long as they work a spread that exceeds 10 hours.

It’s important to pay your employees what they’re owed under this law, so if needed, consult additional legal experts on your obligations.

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