As we head into the final quarter of 2014, New York State employers should begin preparing for the minimum wage hike. On December 31, 2014, the statewide hourly minimum wage for non-exempt (i.e., hourly) employees will rise from $8.00 to $8.75 (and then to $9.00 on December 31, 2015). Just as significantly, the minimum weekly salary for certain exempt employees – executives and administrators – will also increase on December 31: from $600.00 to $656.25 (and then to $675.00 on December 31, 2015).
Wages for tipped employees in the hospitality industry are also impacted. For food service workers, the tip credit will increase from $3.00 to $3.75 per hour (and to $4.00 on December 31, 2015). This means that the “tipped minimum wage” for such workers will remain at $5.00 per hour, provided that tips plus wages equal or exceed the applicable minimum wage (i.e., $8.75 per hour as of December 31, 2014). But the minimum overtime rate for these workers will increase to $9.375 per hour. For non-food service workers (other than those at resort hotels), the tip credit will rise from $2.35 to $3.10 per hour, although the tipped minimum wage for such workers will stay steady at $5.65 per hour.
Certain meal and lodging credits, as well as uniform maintenance pay for employers that do not maintain required uniforms, are also scheduled to increase.
Finally, the minimum wage spike also means a spike in the “spread of hours” pay rate owed to employees when they work (1) more than 10 hours in a given day, or (2) on a split shift, where the number of hours between the start and end of their workday exceeds 10.
Employers should monitor the New York Department of Labor’s website for an updated minimum wage poster that must be displayed in the workplace.
What Does This Mean for My Company?
2015 promises to bring a bevy of wage and hour changes for New York employers. Employers should consult with experienced counsel to discuss these issues and prepare a cogent plan of action to face them, head-on.