Minimum Wage in New York

Guide to the Minimum Wage in New York

If you are living or working in the state of New York, you may need to know more information about the current minimum wage in NY and anticipated changes to minimum wage laws.  New York has several regulations that are different from those in other states, and for some categories of worker the minimum wage in New York is higher than in other parts of the country.  This guide will help you understand the laws regarding the minimum wage in NY, so that you can understand if your employer is complying with current law and how proposed changes would impact you.

Current Minimum Wage in New York

Currently, the minimum wage in NY state is $7.25 per hour, with overtime paid for hours worke in excess of 40 per week (44 for live-in workers).  This is equal to the federal minimum wage.  Tipped employees can make a lower wage than this minimum, but minimum wage in New York for tipped workers is higher than much of the rest of the country at $4.65 per hour for restaurant workers and $5.50 for other types of tipped workers (for instance, valets).  If a tipped employee makes less than minimum wage including tips, employers must increase the employee's wage to the minimum.

New York City Minimum Wage Laws

While large metropolitan areas often have significantly higher wages than the rest of the state, the minimum wage in NY City is still $7.25 an hour for most workers.  However, a new law passed in 2012 has raised the minimum wage in New York City for some workers.  If you are working for a company that receives at least $1 million in subsidies from the city, a living wage law was passed that puts your minimum wage at $10 per hour.  Originally, this living wage law was supposed to raise the minimum wage in NY City for many more workers, but in its current form the law may apply to only a few hundred low-wage workers in the city.

Changes to Minimum Wage Laws

Currently, the state assembly is talking about changing the minimum wage in New York.  A proposed law would raise the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour for non-tipped employees.  This would raise the minimum wage in NY to a level above the federal level and is currently supported by most state residents.  This law is likely to go to a public vote in 2012 or 2013, allowing voters to decide whether or not minimum wage in New York should exceed federal minimums.

What if My Employer Underpaid?

Not every employer abides by the laws about minimum wage in NY.  If your employer has underpaid you according to current minimum wage laws, you may be able to talk to the Commissioner of Labor.  Often, the Commissioner of Labor may be able to seek your wages without resorting to a lawsuit or any other legal proceedings, making it cheaper and easier to pursue your case and get back pay to give you the minimum wage in New York.  

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