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What You Need to Know about Minimum Wage Law in New York

12341915759Most states have a minimum wage that employers are required to pay employees and New York is no exception.

In 2017, the minimum wage for many employees in the state began an incremental increase that eventually resulted in a minimum wage of $15 per hour for anyone working for an employer with more than 11 employees in New York City.

In other parts of the state, there will be incremental increases over the next five years or so that will eventually result in all employees receiving at least $15 per hour if they work for an employer required to adhere to minimum wage laws.

New York’s minimum wage is significantly higher than the federal minimum which is only $7.25 an hour. When a state or city’s minimum wage is higher than the federal amount, employees are entitled to the higher of the two.

For more information on New York State’s march to a higher minimum wage, check out this information from the Department of Labor.

Why are there Minimum Wage Laws?

Minimum wage laws are in place to protect employees from unfair compensation. After all, if you’re working and a contributing member of society you deserve to receive an income that is sufficient to support your basic needs and the basic needs of your family.

Keep in mind, though, not every employee is entitled to a minimum wage.

For instance, if your employer is small or you are not officially an employee and work as an independent contractor, you might not be protected by the law or the law might be different for your situation. New York’s minimum wage law applies to smaller employers but the increase occurred slower for employees working for companies with fewer than 11 employees.

In addition to independent contractors and smaller employers, there are other industries in which minimum wage laws might not apply. In some cases, this is because the employee receives payment that does not come directly from the employer but still provides income to help them meet their basic living expenses.

For instance, commissioned sales employees might earn far more than the minimum wage, but their base salary is less than minimum wage. Service staff can also be paid less than the minimum wage because they earn tips directly from customers.

This is just a small sample of employees who might not receive protection under minimum wage laws. However, if you believe the laws do apply to you and you are not receiving sufficient compensation under the law, you have the right to take action.

What Should You Do If Your Employer is Not Paying You Minimum Wage?

Despite laws regarding minimum wage, there are still employers who do not pay employees the proper minimum wage. In some cases this is an honest mistake – they are a small business and juggling a number of things and since no employees have called attention to the problem, they are unaware they are breaking the law. The laws can be somewhat complex, so it’s understandable how some business owners might be confused.

In other cases, employers have found ways to skirt minimum wage laws with tricks. They understand the laws but are taking advantage of the fact that employees don’t.

Regardless why you aren’t being paid a proper wage and you know for a fact minimum wage laws apply to your employer, you have a right to take action.

Start by speaking to your employer and asking why your wages are below the required minimum. If the answer is insufficient, and it likely will be if you’ve done your research and you know where you stand, you can contact the state’s labor department.

Keep in mind, it’s worth taking action even if you don’t intend to remain an employee for that company. A violation of minimum wage laws could entitle you to back pay, which means a significant chunk of income could be headed your way.

For more information or to speak to someone about minimum wage laws and how they apply to you, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. for more information.


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