Good news for New York's 229,000 tipped workers: starting Dec. 31, the minimum wage for tipped workers will increase to $7.50 an hour. State law allows businesses to pay tipped workers less than the minimum hourly wage of $8.75 if the workers can make up the difference in tips.
For waiters, hotel housekeepers and others who receive tips, New York's minimum wage is currently $5.00. The raise to $7.50 will be the first mandatory increase in the minimum wage for New York hospitality workers since 2011.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the raise at a Hotel and Motel Trades Council rally in Manhattan.
New York's minimum wage for non-tipped workers is also set to increase to $9 an hour on Dec. 31.
The National Employment Law Project reports that 70 percent of New York's 229,000 tipped workers are women, and tipped workers are two times more likely than non-tipped workers to live in poverty. This reality underscores the need for increased wages for workers in the hospitality industry.
Unfortunately, some employers add insult to injury by breaking the law and failing to pay workers the wages they earn. As we discussed in a recent post, the U.S. Labor Department has reported that each month 300,000 workers in New York were illegally paid less than the minimum wage, resulting in millions of dollars in lost income each week.
If your employer has failed to pay you the money you're owed, then an employment law attorney can explain your options for receiving the compensation you need and deserve. State and federal laws provide protections against wage theft.