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Are you familiar with the regulation regarding the spread of hours in New York? It applies to virtually every restaurant in the state and failure to adhere to it can lead to sanctions by the state’s Department of Labor.

The law works like this: Let’s say a waiter works a double shift, the first shift running from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and the second shift running from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. According to the Spread of Hours mandate, that waiter is entitled to eight hours of pay for the shifts he worked plus one extra hour of pay at minimum wage (currently $7.25) because his start to finish time (the “spread of hours”) of his workday exceeded ten hours, even though his hours were nonconsecutive.

And there’s more: The employer is obligated to pay one hour of additional pay for each hour in excess of 10 hours and for each split shift. So if his spread of hours extends to 12 hours, he is entitled to 2 hours of additional pay, and so on.

It’s important to note that meal periods of one hour or less do not count as interruptions in the continuity of the shift.

Spread of hours can be really difficult to calculate and keep track of. Innocent mistakes can lead to audits, sanctions, and even worse.

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Latest posts by Rick Casmass
Rick Casmass
Rick has spent more than 25 years serving the restaurant industry, both as a service provider and participant. Currently, Rick is vice president of sales for Valiant’s Restaurant division, where he leads a team of sales consultants who perform risk mitigation audits for restaurant operators.
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