Minimum Wage

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Minimum Wage

New York restaurants must pay a minimum wage ranging from $9.70 to $11.00 per hour, depending on size of employer and location, or at least $7.50 per hour for waitstaff if it takes a “tip credit.

Minimum wage varies by state and in New York it ranges from $9.70 to $11.00 per hour depending on size of employer and location.  In New York, restaurants are allowed to use a “tip credit”, which ranges from $2.20 to $3.50 per hour, to count towards the minimum wage that they must pay their tipped employees.  In other words, they can pay their waitstaff less than minimum wage on the condition that the employees will make at least minimum wage per hour after receiving their tips from customers.  In these cases, (1) the employees must be informed by the restaurant of the tip credit law (i.e. Section 3(m) of the Fair Labor Standards Act), and (2) all tips received by such employees must be retained by the employees (unless there is a valid tip pooling arrangement).


In New York, the minimum wage varies depending on the location of the restaurant and, in New York City, the size of the restaurant. The applicable minimum wage rates and tip credits are as follows:


Location Full. Min. Wage Rate as of 12/31/16 Tip Credits as of 12/31/16
NY City – Large restaurant (11 or more employees) $11.00 per hour Up to $3.50, with $7.50 per hour in house pay
NY City – Small restaurant (10 or less employees) $10.50 per hour Up to $3.00, with $7.50 per hour in house pay
Long Island and Westchester County $10.00 per hour Up to $2.50, with $7.50 per hour in house pay
Rest of New York State $9.70 per hour Up to $2.20, with $7.50 per hour in house pay

The minimum wage rate for fast food employees is $12.00 per hour in New York City and $10.75 per hour in the rest of New York State.


The minimum direct wage for a tipped restaurant employee in New York is $7.50 an hour, provided the employee is allowed to keep the tips received, and the sum of the direct wage and the tips must be equal to or greater than the applicable minimum wage rate.  If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 per hour, the restaurant must make up the difference.


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