Everything You Need to Know about New York Domestic Employment

Aug 31, 2018 | Domestic Workers' Rights, Household Payroll & Taxes, Tax & Wage Laws, Workers' Comp & Insurance


Even the most organized families can get tripped up by the nuances of New York domestic employment. Here’s what you need to know when hiring or employing a nanny or other household workers.

The nuances of employing a nanny in New York can get confusing. Domestic employers need to follow tax, wage, and labor laws at the federal, state, and local levels. This can cause possible non-compliance and fines and penalties even for unintentional violations. Here’s what families need to know about New York domestic employment when hiring or employing a nanny or other household workers.

Minimum Wage

Nannies and other household employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25/hour. However, if a state or local rate is higher, then that hourly wage supersedes the federal rate. In New York City, the current minimum wage is $12/hour for small employers, $11/hour for Long Island and Westchester County, and $10.40/hour for the rest of the state.
These minimum wage rates are scheduled to increase over the next few years.


Nannies and other household employees typically must be paid time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a seven-day work week. While federal law exempts live-in employees from overtime requirements, New York requires live-in domestic workers to be paid at least time and a half for hours worked over 44 in a week.

Workers’ Compensation

Domestic employers in New York are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance if their employee works 40 or more hours in a week. Employers can be fined for not carrying a policy. In New York State, you could face a fine of up to $2,000 for every 10-day period of noncompliance. Additionally, the fine for a criminal conviction ranges from $1,000 to $50,000.

Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

New York was the first state to pass a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which covers full-time workers including immigrants regardless of their immigration status. New York’s Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights requires employers to provide:

  • Pay rate of at least minimum wage and overtime at time and a half
  • At least three paid days off after one year of employment with the same employer
  • One day of rest must be provided each week
  • Unemployment insurance for employees who are paid more than $500 per calendar quarter
  • Workers’ compensation for full-time workers
  • Disability insurance for non-work-related injuries and illnesses including pregnancy
  • Written notice on work policies including sick leave, vacation, holidays, pay rates, and more
  • Weekly payday
  • Pay stub that includes the number of hours worked, gross pay, and any deductions for taxes or other money taken out of their pay

The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights also extends the state’s human rights law to household workers.

Sexual Harassment Prevention

All employers in New York must provide a sexual harassment prevention policy and training to all employees. See all the information for employers and employees, including model policies and trainings, here.

Paid Family Leave

New York’s Paid Family Leave program requires employers to provide paid leave for various family or medical reasons including:

  • Bond with a newborn, adopted or foster-care child during the first 12 months after birth or placement
  • Care for a seriously ill family member
  • Address important needs related to a family member’s military service

Employees can receive up to eight weeks of paid family leave. The program is paid for by employees through an additional payroll deduction. Your disability insurance carrier will also be your carrier for paid family leave.

New York City Paid Sick Leave

For New York City employers, your employees who work more than 80 hours in a calendar year receive two paid days off to care for themselves or for close family members when they become ill. This is in addition to the three paid days off they get from the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Disability Insurance

New York is one of five states to require domestic employers to withhold additional taxes for disability insurance, which provides short-term benefits for employees who are unable to work due to a non-work related illness or injury including pregnancy.

New Employer SUI Rate

New York domestic employers are required to carry unemployment insurance. The new employer state unemployment insurance (SUI) tax rate that all employers pay when they first become employers is 4.10 percent. Families that had employees previously may be subject to a different rate.

Taxable Wage Base

In New York, the taxable wage base is $10,900. This is the maximum income amount for which employees must pay Social Security taxes.

GTM Can Help with New York Domestic Employment

Hiring a domestic employee in New York or have questions about complying with the state’s tax, wage, and labor laws? Get a free, no-obligation consultation with a household employment expert at (800) 929-9213. It’s important to get nanny taxes and payroll done right to avoid fines and penalties for violating the law.

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