New York Modifies Minimum Wage Rates Effective July 24, 2009

In our last blog, we reported that the federal minimum wage was set to increase on July 24, 2009, which would result in an increase from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour, thereby making the minimum wage rate under federal law higher than the minimum wage under New York law, which was $7.15. Under such circumstances, the New York minimum wage would be replaced by the higher rate under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Nevertheless, the New York State Department of Labor has acted by formerly increasing the wage rate under New York law to $7.25.

The New York minimum wage rate increases are reflected in a July 23, 2009 modified wage order, which is to be effective on July 24, 2009.
Among other things, the New York Department of Labor increased the “tip credit” that restaurants are entitled to take, but which still result in an increase to the minimum wage for food service workers. Consequently, food service workers who receive tips must now be paid a minimum wage of $4.65, instead of the prior $4.60. This increase in the minimum wage also affects the overtime premium to be paid New York food service workers.
In addition, the amount a New York employer has to pay to employees for uniform maintenance has increased from $8.90 to $9.00 per week for employees who work more than 30 hours per week, from $7.00 to $7.10 per week for those who work over 20 hours per week, and $4.25 to $4.30 for employees who work fewer hours.
The New York Department of Labor made no changes to the permitted meal allowance and lodging allowance rates employers are entitled to take.
Finally, the New York Department of Labor incorporated a modest increase in the minimum weekly salary required in order for an employee to be deemed exempt from payment of overtime under New York law. In order to satisfy this minimum salary test, employees must be paid at least a minimum weekly salary of $543.75, increased from $536.10.

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