NY Labor Commissioner Raises Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers

At the end of February, New York’s acting labor commissioner, Mario J. Musolino, ordered that the minimum wage for tipped workers be raised to $7.50 an hour. The increase will go into effect at the end of 2015.

This represents a significant increase in wages for tipped workers in the state – and corresponding cost to employers of tipped workers. Currently, there are three categories of tipped workers, whose minimum wages range from $4.90 to $5.65 an hour. The order calls that these three categories be combined into a single class to be paid the new, higher rate. This is the first increase for tipped workers since 2011, while non-tipped employees have continued to see progressive wage increases, which will go up again at the end of 2015 to $9.00 per hour.

This change is part of a trend of increased attention nationwide toward the issue of tipped worker minimum wages. The federal tipped wage is $2.13 an hour, and is in place in 17 states, including New Jersey. Proposed federal minimum wage legislation, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2014, would not only increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10, but require tipped workers be paid equal to 70% of that rate. A number of states are considering similar proposals to that approved by New York – stay tuned for further developments that may affect your employees throughout the U.S.