As the end of the year is fast approaching it is important to be aware of some minimum wage changes for New York effective December 31,2015 so businesses can start planning accordingly. Restaurants also will see an entirely new class of worker with which a separate minimum wage will apply. I will give you a hint that this is the class of worker that sent everyone into a tailspin when it was announced that $15 would be the minimum wage by December 2020. Employers, especially restaurants and those in the hospitality industry need to be sure they are compliant with these changes prior to January 2016.
• The minimum wage will increase from $8.75 to $9.00. This applies to all employees who do not receive tips as part of their wages.
• The minimum wage for tipped employees will increase from $5.00 to $7.50. Previously there were different rates for different tipped employees, however, starting December 31, that will no longer be the case and ALL tipped employees will need to be paid $7.50 per hour. This new wage plus the employee’s tips must reach at least the minimum wage of $9.00 or the employer must make up the difference.
• A newly created class of workers, fast-food employees, will have a higher minimum wage rate than other employees in New York starting December 31. These are employees of chain restaurants with 30 or more locations nationwide, which have counter service only. The minimum wage for these employees will be $10.50 in New York City and $9.75 everywhere else.
The Labor Standards Division has a staff of investigators who enforce the New York State Minimum Wage Act. This includes four minimum wage orders and the Minimum Wage Standards for Farm Workers. These laws, with specified exceptions, apply to all workers in New York State. They also cover people who are subject to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
You can learn more about NYS wage & hour law which includes farm labor, day of rest and meal periods by visiting the NYS Department of Labor website HERE.