At Leeds Brown Law, P.C. our unpaid wage lawyers believe that knowledge is power. The more you know about your rights as an employee, the better equipped you are to spot problems with your paychecks. Learning about your most basic rights to minimum wage, overtime pay, and the hours that make up your workweek, can help ensure you are receiving all the money your employer legally owes you.
The Minimum Wage Act (Article 19 of the New York State Labor Law) requires that all employees in New York State receive the appropriate minimum wage. New York also has Wage Orders. Wage orders apply to specific industries and may be different than what is outlined in the Minimum Wage Act.
As we head into a new year, we want to share with you some changes coming to wage and hour rules in our area that may be important to you.
New York State created a schedule of minimum wage rates in 2015 that provides automatic increases each year until the statewide minimum wage is $15.00 per hour. The rate goes up on December 31 each year. On Dec 31, 2017, the minimum wage will increase as follows. Note that the minimum wage is different depending on where in New York you work. In New York City, the size of your employer also plays a role in determining your rate of pay.
|NYC – Large Employees (of 11 or more)||$11.00||$13.00|
|NYC – Small Employers (10 or less)||$10.50||$12.00|
|Long Island & Westchester||$10.00||$11.00|
|Remainder of New York State||$9.70||$10.40|
Under the Hospitality Industry Wage Order, employees who work in fast food establishments will see a wage increase in New York City and the rest of the state of New York. To determine minimum wage, a fast food establishment is a chain business primarily serving food or drinks, where customers pay and order before eating that has at least 30 locations. The 30 locations may all be in New York, or some may be out of state. It includes locations that are franchised.
The minimum wage rate as of December 31, 2017, for fast food employees in New York City will increase from $12.00 per hour to $13.50 per hour. For fast food employees in the rest of New York State, including Long Island, the minimum wage will increase from $10.75 per hour to $11.75 per hour.
Tipped employees, defined as those earning at least $30.00 per month in tips, are unique in that employers have the option to pay them a reduced cash wage. When choosing this option, employers may apply a set tip credit to their wages. The reduced cash wage, or tipped minimum wage, plus the tip credit must equal the “normal” minimum wage.
While tipped employees are not limited to food service, in New York City, with its thousands of restaurants, it is the industry where we see many unpaid wage claims. The schedule of wages for the coming year for tipped employees in food service varies by location and the size of the employer.
|NYC-Large Employers (11 or more)||$8.65 cash wage||$4.35 tip credit||Total $13.00|
|NYC-Small Employers (10 or less)||$8.00 cash wage||$4.00 tip credit||Total $12.00|
|Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester||$7.50 cash wage||$3.50 tip credit||Total $11.00|
|Remainder of New York State||$7.50 cash wage||$2.90 tip credit||Total $10.40|
Many employees are entitled by law to receive overtime pay. When you work more than 40 hours in each workweek, you should receive overtime pay for those extra hours. Overtime pay gets calculated by multiplying your regular hourly rate of pay by 1 ½. For example, if your regular rate of pay is $12.00 per hour, your overtime rate of pay should be $18.00 per hour. If you work 42 hours, you should receive 40 x $12.00 plus 2 x $18.00.
Employees who are not entitled to overtime pay are called exempt employees. In New York, there are exemptions for executive and administrative employees. To truly be exempt from overtime you must earn a salary of a particular amount AND perform specific executive and administrative duties. Your salary alone is not enough to cause you to be exempt from overtime. But, beginning December 31, 2017, you must earn at least the following salary amounts to satisfy this portion of the test:
|NYC-Large Employers (11 or more)||$975.00 per week|
|NYC-Small Employers (10 or less)||$900.00 per week|
|Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester||$825.00 per week|
|Remainder of New York State||$780.00 per week|
If 2017 is any indication, be on the lookout for wage theft and tip theft in the new year. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) conducted a study the results of which were released in May 2017. The study showed that in the ten most populous US states, nearly 2.4 million workers lose 8 billion dollars a year because of minimum wage violations. There are no signs of this trend slowing down.
If you work in the New York Metropolitan area, or anywhere in the United States, you may be a victim of wage theft. Any time your employer applies the wrong tip credit or fails to pay you for overtime, your wages are being stolen. If your employer is not paying you the correct minimum wage, you may be entitled to recover your legal wages. Don’t be a victim of wage theft. Enforce your rights to collect your pay.
When your employer is not paying you properly, contact Leeds Brow Law, P.C., lawyers handling unpaid wage claims for employees in NYC and across America. We can help you, and your co-workers collect the wages your employer owes you. Call us today for a free case evaluation at (800) 585-4658. Someone is available to answer your call 24/7 so don’t delay.