Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. 8000 Flour Exchange Building 310 Fourth Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 612.455.0500
Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. 8000 Flour Exchange Building 310 Fourth Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 612.455.0500

New York Sales Representative Statutes

Photograph of Craig W. Trepanier

California Independent Wholesale Sales Representatives Statutes

Independent manufacturers’ sales representatives are typically hired by manufacturers, distributors, and importers to solicit orders for their products from potential customers in designated territories in exchange for a sales commission. Such sales representatives often spend many months or years building up a customer base in their assigned territory and incur substantial up-front sales and marketing expenses that can include travel, lodging, entertainment, and trade show expenses with the hope of generating a stream of future commission income. The sales representative is vulnerable if the principal suddenly terminates their relationship and/or fails to pay all commissions owed to the sales rep.

In response to these concerns, starting in the 1980s and 1990s, many states enacted statutes to protect the interests of these independent manufacturers’ sales representatives. These statutes often:

• Require the sales representative agreement to be in writing;

• Require the principal to provide a copy of the written contract to the sales rep;

• Require the principal to pay the sales rep for all commissions owed promptly following termination (or incur liability for statutory penalties, attorney’s fees, and court costs);

• Strictly limit the circumstances under which the principal can terminate, or fail to renew, a sales representative agreement (e.g., requiring the manufacturer to have “good cause” for termination); and/or

• Prohibit the principal from imposing terms (such as choice of law or exclusive venue provisions) in the sales rep agreement that would effectively require the sales rep to waive its statutory protections under the law.

Thirty-five of the fifty states have enacted some form of sales rep protection legislation.

This article sets forth the text of New York’s laws protecting independent manufacturers’ sales representatives, as of January 1, 2023.

The New York Sales Representatives’ Rights Act

New York Statutes, McKinney’s Labor Law § 190

As used in this article:

1. “Wages” means the earnings of an employee for labor or services rendered, regardless of whether the amount of earnings is determined on a time, piece, commission or other basis. The term “wages” also includes benefits or wage supplements as defined in section one hundred ninety-eight-c of this article, except for the purposes of sections one hundred ninety-one and one hundred ninety-two of this article.

2. “Employee” means any person employed for hire by an employer in any employment.

3. “Employer” includes any person, corporation, limited liability company, or association employing any individual in any occupation, industry, trade, business or service. The term “employer” shall not include a governmental agency.

4. “Manual worker” means a mechanic, workingman or laborer.

5. “Railroad worker” means any person employed by an employer who operates a steam, electric or diesel surface railroad or is engaged in the sleeping car business. The term “railroad worker” shall not include a person employed in an executive capacity.

6. “Commission salesman” means any employee whose principal activity is the selling of any goods, wares, merchandise, services, real estate, securities, insurance or any article or thing and whose earnings are based in whole or in part on commissions. The term “commission salesman” does not include an employee whose principal activity is of a supervisory, managerial, executive or administrative nature.

7. “Clerical and other worker” includes all employees not included in subdivisions four, five and six of this section, except any person employed in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity whose earnings are in excess of nine hundred dollars a week.

8. “Week” means a calendar week or a regularly established payroll week. “Month” means a calendar month or a regularly established fiscal month.

9. “Non-profitmaking organization” means a corporation, unincorporated association, community chest, fund or foundation organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable or educational purposes, no part of the net earnings of which inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

New York Statutes, McKinney’s Labor Law § 191

1. Every employer shall pay wages in accordance with the following provisions:

a. Manual worker.

(i) A manual worker shall be paid weekly and not later than seven calendar days after the end of the week in which the wages are earned; provided however that a manual worker employed by an employer authorized by the commissioner pursuant to subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph or by a non-profitmaking organization shall be paid in accordance with the agreed terms of employment, but not less frequently than semi-monthly.

(ii) The commissioner may authorize an employer which has in the three years preceding the application employed an average of one thousand or more persons in this state or has for one year preceding the application employed an average of one thousand or more persons in this state and has for three years preceding the application employed an average of three thousand or more persons outside the state to pay less frequently than weekly but not less frequently than semi-monthly if the employer furnishes satisfactory proof to the commissioner of its continuing ability to meet its payroll responsibilities. In making this determination the commissioner shall consider the following: (A) the employer’s history meeting its payroll responsibilities in New York state or if no such history in New York state is available, other financial information, as requested by the commissioner, which will assist the commissioner in determining the likelihood of the employer’s continuing ability to meet payroll responsibilities; (B) proof of the employer’s coverage for workers’ compensation and disability; (C) proof that there are no outstanding warrants of the department of taxation and finance or the department of labor against the employer for failure to remit state personal income tax withholdings or unemployment insurance contributions; and (D) proof that the employer has a computerized record keeping system for payroll which, at a minimum, specifies hours worked, rate of pay, gross wages, deductions and date of pay for each employee. If the employers’ manual workers are represented by a labor organization, the commissioner shall not grant an employer’s application for authorization under this subparagraph unless that labor organization consents thereto.

Upon notice to the employer and an opportunity to be heard, the commissioner may rescind such authorization whenever the commissioner has determined, based upon the factors enumerated above, that the employer is no longer able to meet its payroll responsibilities as previously authorized.

b. Railroad worker.— A railroad worker shall be paid on or before Thursday of each week the wages earned during the seven- day period ending on Tuesday of the preceding week; and provided further that at the written request and notification of address by any employee, every railroad corporation, with the exception of those commuter railroads under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan transportation authority, shall mail every check for wages of such employee via the United States postal service, first class mail.

c. Commission salespersons.–A commission salesperson shall be paid the wages, salary, drawing account, commissions and all other monies earned or payable in accordance with the agreed terms of employment, but not less frequently than once in each month and not later than the last day of the month following the month in which they are earned; provided, however, that if monthly or more frequent payment of wages, salary, drawing accounts or commissions are substantial, then additional compensation earned, including but not limited to extra or incentive earnings, bonuses and special payments, may be paid less frequently than once in each month, but in no event later than the time provided in the employment agreement or compensation plan. The employer shall furnish a commission salesperson, upon written request, a statement of earnings paid or due and unpaid. The agreed terms of employment shall be reduced to writing, signed by both the employer and the commission salesperson, kept on file by the employer for a period not less than three years and made available to the commissioner upon request. Such writing shall include a description of how wages, salary, drawing account, commissions and all other monies earned and payable shall be calculated. Where the writing provides for a recoverable draw, the frequency of reconciliation shall be included. Such writing shall also provide details pertinent to payment of wages, salary, drawing account, commissions and all other monies earned and payable in the case of termination of employment by either party. The failure of an employer to produce such written terms of employment, upon request of the commissioner, shall give rise to a presumption that the terms of employment that the commissioned salesperson has presented are the agreed terms of employment.

d. Clerical and other worker.–A clerical and other worker shall be paid the wages earned in accordance with the agreed terms of employment, but not less frequently than semi-monthly, on regular pay days designated in advance by the employer.

2. No employee shall be required as a condition of employment to accept wages at periods other than as provided in this section.

3. If employment is terminated, the employer shall pay the wages not later than the regular pay day for the pay period during which the termination occurred, as established in accordance with the provisions of this section. If requested by the employee, such wages shall be paid by mail.

New York Statutes, McKinney’s Labor Law § 191-a

For purposes of this article the term:

(a) “Commission” means compensation accruing to a sales representative for payment by a principal, the rate of which is expressed as a percentage of the dollar amount of wholesale orders or sales.

(b) “Earned commission” means a commission due for services or merchandise which is due according to the terms of an applicable contract or, when there is no applicable contractual provision, a commission due for merchandise which has actually been delivered to, accepted by, and paid for by the customer, notwithstanding that the sales representative’s services may have terminated.

(c) “Principal” means a person or company engaged in the business of manufacturing, and who:

(1) Manufactures, produces, imports, or distributes a product for wholesale;

(2) Contracts with a sales representative to solicit orders for the product; and

(3) Compensates the sales representative in whole or in part by commissions.

(d) “Sales representative” means a person or entity who solicits orders in New York state and is not covered by subdivision six of section one hundred ninety and paragraph (c) of subdivision one of section one hundred ninety-one of this article because he or she is an independent contractor, but does not include one who places orders for his own account for resale.

New York Statutes, McKinney’s Labor Law § 191-b

1. When a principal contracts with a sales representative to solicit wholesale orders within this state, the contract shall be in writing and shall set forth the method by which the commission is to be computed and paid.

2. The principal shall provide each sales representative with a signed copy of the contract. The principal shall obtain a signed receipt for the contract from each sales representative.

3. A sales representative during the course of the contract, shall be paid the earned commission and all other monies earned or payable in accordance with the agreed terms of the contract, but not later than five business days after the commission has become earned.

New York Statutes, McKinney’s Labor Law § 191-c

1. When a contract between a principal and a sales representative is terminated, all earned commissions shall be paid within five business days after termination or within five business days after they become due in the case of earned commissions not due when the contract is terminated.

2. The earned commission shall be paid to the sales representative at the usual place of payment unless the sales representative requests that the commission be sent to him or her through the mails. If the commissions are sent to the sales representative by mail, the earned commissions shall be deemed to have been paid as of the date of their postmark for purposes of this section.

3. A principal who fails to comply with the provisions of this section concerning timely payment of all earned commissions shall be liable to the sales representative in a civil action for double damages. The prevailing party in any such action shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, and disbursements.


New York, like a majority of states, has enacted sales representative legislation. Manufacturers, distributors, and importers typically bear the burden of compliance with these statutes and should ensure that their contracts and activities are consistent with applicable law. Sales representatives may wish to review applicable laws to understand their rights. If the laws of multiple states are involved, compliance with the relevant law may become even more complicated, and legal advice from a New York sales rep attorney may be appropriate.

If you are interested in the sales representative statutes of other states, click here to view our sales representative statute survey page.


About the Author

Craig W. Trepanier is a sales representative attorney who handles disputes under the Minnesota Termination of Sales Representatives Act and the laws of other jurisdictions. He can be reached at or at 612.455.0502. Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. is a Minnesota sales representative law firm located in Minneapolis. If you need advice regarding your sales representative agreement, or are having a dispute regarding the termination, non-renewal, or modification of a sales rep agreement or unpaid commissions, please contact us. Mr. Trepanier can represent you in the State of Minnesota. If appropriate, we can co-counsel with an attorney in your jurisdiction to leverage our specialized knowledge of sales rep law.