When we think of manual workers, we often think of plumbers, construction workers, and others who do physically demanding work. Under New York law, the definition of “manual worker” is broad and includes any employee who spends 25 percent or more of their work time doing physical labor. Employers are required to pay all manual workers every week. 

If you have questions about whether you’re entitled to be paid weekly, the employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP are here to help. We will review your case and determine whether your employer has engaged in wage and hour violations. You may be entitled to compensation through a delayed wage claim against your employer. We will help you navigate the claims process and pursue the full compensation you deserve.

Employers Must Pay Cashiers Once Per Week

Many manual workers, including cashiers, live paycheck to paycheck, and paying them every two weeks can impose a significant hardship on them. Weekly payments make it easier for workers to cover their living expenses and pay their bills on time. The purpose of New York’s delayed wage law is to help low to middle-earning employees receive payment faster to avoid needless financial consequences. 

Section 191(1)(a) of the New York Labor Law states that manual workers must be paid weekly. Specifically, employers must pay employees not later than seven calendar days after the end of the work week in which the employee earned the wages. There are a few exceptions to this general rule. 

Large employers with 1,000 or more employees, employees in professional, executive, and administrative roles, and non-profit entities can request an exemption. If they have not received an official exemption from the  Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor, they are still required to pay manual laborers on a weekly basis. Additionally, clerical workers must be paid twice per month. 

Retail, hospitality, and construction employees are likely to qualify as manual workers and should be paid weekly. All private-sector employers are required to abide by the New York Labor laws regarding wage and hour laws. However, the New York Labor Law doesn’t apply to employees who work for the state and federal government. 

Cashiers are Considered “Manual Workers” in New York

The New York Department of Labor defines “manual workers” as individuals who spend 25 percent or more of their time at work engaged in physical labor. Physical labor includes a wide range of physical tasks. You may be considered a manual worker and not even know it. The following types of physical activities are only a few examples the activities considered to be physical labor:

  • Arranging inventory
  • Walking and standing for long periods of time
  • Heavy lifting, such as unpacking boxes, stocking shelves, and bagging purchases
  • Operating machinery
  • Cleaning 
  • Patrols for loss prevention
  • Installing alarm tags on products
  • Removing secured items from heights on shelves

The Department of Labor makes decisions as to which employees qualify as manual laborers on a case-by-case basis. Instead of focusing on the job title, they focus on the work the employee performs. Cashiers spend more than 25 percent of their day on their feet scanning items, bagging them, and cashing customers out when they pay. Consequently, they qualify as manual laborers. In addition to cashiers, the following employees are considered manual workers:

  • Pharmacy technicians
  • Restaurant workers
  • Sales and customer service associates
  • Shelf stockers
  • Receiving clerks
  • Hairdressers
  • Restaurant workers
  • Pharmacy technicians
  • Supermarket employees
  • Security guards and loss prevention agents
  • Carpenters
  • Janitors 

Filing a Complaint for Delayed Wages As a Cashier

When an employer fails to pay wages with the required frequency, the employee has the right to file a complaint with the New York Division of Labor Standards. Additionally, manual workers who’ve been denied weekly paychecks can pursue a civil lawsuit for damages. The statute of limitations for delayed payment claims is six years. As a result, many employees may have a right to pursue damages from former and current employers. However, it’s important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The longer employees wait, the more evidence can become lost and the more difficult it can become to prove the claim.

In Vega v. CM & Associates Construction Management, LLC, a New York appellate court ruled that manual workers who were denied weekly payments could recover liquidated and other damages from their employer through a civil lawsuit. This 2019 ruling has opened the door for manual workers to sue their employers directly for violating the delayed wage law. The court ruled that even though the employer had paid the employer the full pay, the payment was still considered late because the employer paid the employee bi-weekly. 

Calculating Damages in Delayed Wage Claims

Suppose a manual worker earns $800 per week. Instead of being paid weekly, the employer pays him or her $1,600 every two weeks. Even if the employer paid the employee his or her full wages, the employee may still be entitled to recover $800 in damages for every week in which the employer delayed his or her pay. 

If the employee worked 32 weeks a year, he or she could recover $12,800 in damages or half of his or her annual pay. The statute of limitations is for six years. As a result, the employee could potentially recover damages for late payments for the last six years from the date he or she files the lawsuit.

Discuss Your Delayed Wage Claim with an Attorney in New York City

If you work in New York and think you may be considered a manual worker and haven’t been receiving weekly paychecks, you may be entitled to monetary damages. The New York City employment attorneys are prepared to handle every aspect of your case. 

We have a proven track record of holding employers accountable for violating wage and hour laws and obtaining the most compensation possible for our clients. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation and learn more about your legal rights and options.