There is a federal law on the books called the Fair Labor Standards Act that protects your right to receive pay that is commensurate with the work that you do. Without a law such as this, it would be easier for employers to cheat you out of the pay that you deserve.
FLSA is broad in scope, providing many protections to workers of all ages. Two of its most important provisions are overtime pay and a minimum wage.
Under the law, a workweek is up to 40 hours of labor performed in seven consecutive periods of 24 hours each. The law does not prevent you from working more than 40 hours per workweek, nor does it prevent your employer from asking it of you. However, if you do work more than 40 hours per week, your employer typically must pay you extra for it. FLSA requires overtime pay of 1-1/2 times the pay rate that you would normally receive.
For workers who receive an hourly pay rate, FLSA establishes a minimum wage. You cannot receive less than the hourly minimum wage for the work that you do, although you can receive more. Many states, including New York, have minimum wage requirements that are greater than what the federal government imposes. Where the state minimum wage is greater than the federal minimum wage, the law requires that you receive the higher of the two pay rates.
There are different minimum wages for different types of workers. Workers who are minors receive a lower minimum wage. If you work for tips, you may also receive a lower minimum wage. However, if your direct pay and income from tips combined do not meet the federally mandated minimum, your employer must make up the difference.