On February 24, 2015, the Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor adopted the recommendations set forth by the three-member New York State Department of Labor Wage Board affecting tipped workers in the hospitality industry. In pertinent part, the Acting Commissioner’s order increases the minimum hourly rate for tipped employees in New York to $7.50 per hour effective December 31, 2015. The current tip credits were established under the 2011 Hospitality Industry Wage Order and set minimum wages of $5.00 per hour for food service workers, $5.65 per hour for service employees, and $4.90 per hour for service employees in resort hotels. The order simplifies New York’s regulations for tipped workers in the hospitality industry such that a uniform minimum wage applies to all classes of hospitality workers. The Acting Commissioner also rejected a proposal supported by New York’s business community that would have increased the tip allowance for certain highly compensated hospitality workers.

Given the recent increases in New York’s minimum hourly wages, which we covered in the December 2013 and December 2014 issues of the New York eAuthority, the increases in minimum wage for tipped employees are an expected, albeit unwelcome change for New York hospitality employers. A copy of the Wage Board’s report and recommendation is available here. The Acting Commissioner’s order is available here. We will continue to monitor the order ahead of its effective date of December 31, 2015.