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Covered or Excluded Employment

Employment is any service a person performs under a contract of hire (written or oral). An employee is a worker who performs services for compensation under the supervision, direction and control of an employer. Compensation includes salaries, commissions, bonuses and the reasonable money value of board, rent, housing, lodging or similar advantage received.

Unless excluded by law, all services an employee performs for a liable employer is covered. This applies whether it is:

  • Part-time
  • Full-time
  • Temporary
  • Seasonal
  • Casual

Employees may perform services:

  • On or off the employer's premises
  • In their own homes

Industrial homeworkers are employees under the State Labor Law.

Excluded employment: The services of certain employees are not covered under the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Law. Their earnings are not subject to contribution. They are not entitled to UI benefits based on such services.

Treatment of certain services under the UI Law

Type of employment Status under UI Law
Agricultural workers Covered employment if they work for a liable agricultural employer. See our Agricultural Employment pamphlet.
Non-US Residents 
  1. Covered employment if the worker is lawfully present in the US to work or lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the US.
  2. Undocumented non-US residents may not collect benefits. Any remuneration to them is subject to contribution (pay, meals, lodging).
Baby-sitters under the age of 18 Excluded unless they work for non-profit organizations, government entities or Indian tribes.
Caretakers at a place of religious worship

and

Individuals employed at a place of religious worship for duties of a religious nature

Excluded employment unless the employer has chosen voluntary coverage for them.

Casual laborers

Covered employment

Casual laborers under the age of 21 doing yard work and household chores in and around a residence not involving the use of power-driven machinery

Excluded employment unless they work for non-profit organizations, government entities or Indian tribes.

Children under the age of 14

Excluded employment unless they work for non-profit organizations, governmental entities or Indian tribes.

Corporate officers

Officers of all corporations, including professional, Subchapter S and closely-held corporations, who perform services for the corporation are employees. Any compensation for these services, including dividends or distributions, is subject to contribution.

Domestic employees

Personal or domestic services performed in the home are in covered employment (with certain exceptions). See our Household Employers Guide for Unemployment Insurance.

Drivers -

agent-drivers and commission-drivers distributing meat, vegetables, fruit or bakery products; beverages other than milk; or laundry or dry-cleaning.

Covered employment

Family members:

 

Excluded employment (includes step-children)

Excluded employment

  • Child/spouse of partner

Covered employment

  • Any family member of a corporate officer employed by the corporation

Covered employment

Golf caddies

Excluded unless they work for non-profit organizations, government entities or Indian tribes.

Government employees andemployees of Indian tribes .

The following types of employment for government entities and Indian tribes are excluded:

  • Elected officials
  • Members of legislative bodies or of the judiciary
  • Members of the NYS National Guard or Air National Guard, except a person who renders such services as a regular state employee
  • Individuals hired on a temporary basis in case of fire, storm, snow, earthquake, flood or similar emergency
  • Inmates of custodial or penal institutions
  • Officials in major, non-tenured policymaking or advisory positions
  • Individuals in policymaking or advisory positions whose official duties do not require more than eight hours per week to perform

Industrial Homeworkers

Covered employment

Independent contractors

Excluded employment. See our Independent Contractors pamphlet.

Individual proprietor

Earnings are not subject to contribution and services cannot be covered on a voluntary basis.

Inmates of custodial or penal institutions

Excluded employment when they work for non-profit organizations, government entities or Indian tribes.

Joint Employment/Common Paymaster  

If a person is jointly employed by two or more employers that are financially related, contributions on the total earnings of that person are required from these employers only on the amount up to the annual wage base as if they were a single employer.  If two or more financially related corporations concurrently employ the same individual(s) and pay such concurrently employed individual(s) through a common paymaster, which is one of such corporations, the common paymaster may report and pay UI contributions under its own account up to the annual wage base amount on the  remuneration paid to each concurrently employed individual.  However, if reporting by the common paymaster has not been approved for FUTA purposes, then each of the employers must report its share of the wages paid to the concurrent employee(s), but pay contributions only on the wages up to the annual wage base amount in the aggregate. Contact the Tax Department and Labor Department for information on filing as a common paymaster.

Maritime employees

Covered employment if they work within or primarily within NYS waters. Services in interstate or foreign commerce are covered in NY if performed on vessels of American registry which are normally managed and controlled from an office in NYS.

Members, Limited Liability Company Earnings are not subject to contribution and services cannot be covered on a voluntary basis.

Members of the clergy/ordained ministers

Members of religious orders

Lay members elected or appointed to an office within a bona fide church and engaged in religious functions

Excluded employment when they work for non-profit organizations.

Models

Covered employment under certain conditions.

Musicians

See our Department Guidelines for Determing Worker Status: Performing Artists.

Out-of-state employees

Generally, services performed entirely outside NYS are excluded. However, if such services are not covered under the laws of any other state, they are covered under NYS law if performed: (1) outside the United States (except Canada and the Virgin Islands) by a citizen of the US for an American employer whose principal place of business is located in NYS; (2) within the United States, Canada or the Virgin Islands, if the place from which the services are directed and controlled is in NYS.

If none of these conditions apply, and the services are performed by a NYS resident, an employer may choose to cover the services.  See our pamphlet on Determing Jurisdiction When Employment Services are Performed in a Number of Different States.

Partners

Earnings are not subject to contribution and services cannot be covered on a voluntary basis.

Part- time employees

Covered employment, unless specifically excluded

Performing artists

See our Department Guidelines for Determing Worker Status: Performing Artists.

Physician - fellow, resident and intern

Covered employment if they work for a health care facility, including medical centers. Resident Physician is defined to mean only medical doctor (i.e. MD, DO) and not other medical professionals such as dentists or psychologists.

Railroad workers subject to the Federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act

Excluded employment

Rehabilitation program participants

Excluded employment if they work for a non-profit organization and are receiving rehabilitation as part of a program for people whose earning capacity is impaired by age or physical or mental deficiency or injury.

Remunerative work, persons given Excluded employment if the work is done by a disabled individual for a nonprofit organization in a facility operating for the purpose of providing remunerative work for persons of impaired physical or mental capacity.

Sheltered workshop participants

Excluded employment if the work is done by a disabled individual for a nonprofit organization in a facility operating for the purpose of providing remunerative work for persons of impaired physical or mental capacity. 

Salespeople:

 

Covered employment if:

  • Substantially all of such work is performed personally by the salesperson, 
  • The salesperson does not have a substantial investment in facilities used in connection with the performance of their work, except the facilities for transportation, and 
  • The salesperson has a continuing relationship with the employer

Excluded employment if substantially all of the remuneration for the work is:

  • Directly related to sales or other output, rather than to the number of hours worked, and
  • Set forth in a written contract that contains certain provisions

Excluded employment if substantially all of the remuneration for the work is:

  • Directly related to sales or other output, rather than to the number of hours worked, and
  • Set forth in a written contract that contains certain provisions

See our Guidelines for Determining Worker Status: Insurance Sales Industry.

Seasonal employees

Covered employment unless specifically excluded

Shared employees 

Under certain circumstances, employers who are not financially related, but share the services of a single employee, are not required to report and pay the contributions on their own share of the employee's earnings.  Whenever one of the employers takes the responsibility of hiring, firing, supervising, directing and controlling the shared employee, that employer will be allowed to report the employee for UI contribution purposes; therefore, separate reporting by each employer will not be required.  Only in instances where employers have received a ruling that they must report separately for FUTA, will it be necessary to require separate reporting. 

Students:

 

  • College and other high school graduates

Covered employment unless specifically excluded

  1. Covered employment only if they work for non-profit organizations, government entities or Indian tribes.
  2. Excluded employment during the regular school year, if employed by other than nonprofit organizations, government entities or Indian tribes.

*However, if the employer is subject to FUTA, they must report the earnings of elementary and high school students (either quarterly or annually).

Excluded employment.

The spouse's employment is excluded if the spouse is notified when hired that:

  • The employment is provided under a program of financial assistance to the student, and
  • It will not be covered for UI purposes

Excluded employment

Excluded employment if:

  • The person is a full-time student, or
  • Between academic years or terms, there is reason to expect that the student will be enrolled full-time during the next year or term.
  • The student works less than 13 weeks and meets certain other conditions

See our pamphlet on Important Information for Organized Camps.

Temporary employees

Covered employment unless specifically excluded

Youth service program participants

Excluded employment if they work for non-profit organizations under certain conditions

For questions about worker status call the Liability and Determination Section at (518) 457-2635.

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