The New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) proposed a series of new regulations in early 2015. These proposals included new regulations raising the minimum wage and reducing the maximum available “tip credit” for certain workers in the hospitality industry (including restaurant workers), and new regulations implementing the recommendation of Governor Cuomo’s Fast Food Wage Board to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15.00 per hour. On December 23, 2015, both sets of regulations were formally adopted and published in the New York State Register.
These new regulations became effective on December 31, 2015, and contain no changes from what NYSDOL originally proposed earlier in 2015. Among other things, as of December 31, 2015, certain tipped workers who fall under New York’s Hospitality Industry Wage Order must be paid at least $7.50 per hour and may only receive a maximum “tip credit” of $1.50 per hour. Also, as of this same date, covered fast food workers must be paid at least $9.75 per hour if they are employed outside of New York City or at least $10.50 per hour if they are employed inside of New York City. These minimum wages for covered fast food workers are set to automatically increase annually, eventually reaching $15.00 per hour on December 31, 2018 in New York City and on July 1, 2021 in all other areas of New York.