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Minimum wage increase goes into effect December 31

There has been a lot of talk recently about the minimum wage; mainly whether or not the minimum wage should be increased. New York City decided to increase the minimum wage and the new rate will go into effect December 31, which means businesses will need to have their paperwork and accounting processes updated before that time.

The new minimum wage is $8, up from the former $7.25 an hour. Along with the minimum wage increase, there is also an increase for nonexempt employees. Any employee who does not qualify for a hourly wage or overtime must make a minimum of $600 a week.

For workers who are covered under the New York Hospitality Wage Order, the minimum wage will remain the same, $5 for food service workers and $5.65 for nonfood service workers. However, the overtime rate will increase. Food service workers will now receive $9 for overtime and nonfood service workers will receive $9.65 an hour.

Other changes that will affect New York businesses include pregnancy accommodations. An amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law adds that businesses with four or more employees must make special accommodations for pregnant workers. These accommodations include extra breaks for pregnant women, help with manual labor and breaks for pregnant women who stand on their feet for long periods of time. Businesses who feel they will be negatively impacted by the new regulations can seek an exception, but they will have to prove that the new laws will create an undue burden on the business.

The new wage and hour laws are all good news for employees, provided that businesses follow the new laws. Any employee who feels his or her employers are not doing as legally directed can speak to a legal professional to determine if there is a breach and receive advice on how the situation could possibly be remedied.

Source: Mondaq, "United States: New York Employers – Minimum Wage Increases And Other Reminders For The New Year" Carolyn D. Richmond and Glenn S. Grindlinger, Dec. 18, 2013

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