On the heels of the ongoing debate to raise the federal minimum wage, New York State has followed through with a series of planned increases to the state minimum wage starting next year.
On April 1, 2013, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that will increase New York State’s minimum wage (currently $7.25) over a three year period. The increases are as follows:
- $8.00 on and after December 31, 2013;
- $8.75 on and after December 31, 2014; and,
- $9.00 on and after December 31, 2015.
Employers should also be aware that when a state has a different minimum wage rate than under federal law, employers are obligated to pay the higher of the two rates. Since the Fair Labor Standards Act currently mandates a minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour, employers will be obligated to pay their New York State employees at least $8.00 per hour starting in 2014.
Currently, these increases in the minimum wage will not apply to New York State workers receiving the tipped minimum wage. For example, under current New York law, food service workers must receive a minimum wage of $5.00 per hour and the employer credit for tips cannot exceed $2.25 per hour. However, this is likely to change in the coming months as the legislation provides for wage board discussions on adjustments to the tipped minimum wage for tipped employees. Therefore, employers who pay tipped minimum wages to their employees should be on the lookout in coming months and expect eventual changes to the tipped minimum wage rate.