On December 31, 2016, restaurant workers throughout New York State will begin to see changes in the payment structure of their wages. Back of the House Workers Back of the house workers (cooks, dishwashers, stockers, and others without direct customer contact) will receive an increase from the current minimum wage rate of $9.00/hour beginning December 31, 2016, according to the following specifications: New York City – Large Employers (with 11 or more employees): $11.00 New York City – Small Employers (with 10 or fewer employees): $10.50 Long Island & Westchester: $10.00 Remainder of New York State: $9.70 Front of the House Workers New York State law allows employers in all industries, except building service and fast food, to satisfy payment of the minimum wage by combining a “cash wage” paid by the employer with a credit or allowance for tips that the employee receives from customers. For example, employers in the Hospitality Industry could satisfy the 2016 minimum wage of $9.00 by combining a cash wage of at least $7.50 with a tip allowance of no less than $1.50 per hour. Employers need only pay a cash wage of $7.50/hour to workers, so long as the employees receive at least $1.50/hour from customers in tips. Beginning on December 31, 2016, tipped front of the house restaurant workers (servers, bussers, bartenders, hosts, hostesses, and others with direct customer contact) will still be required to receive the same 2016 minimum hourly wage rate of $7.50/hour from their employers. However, as of December 31, 2016, tipped restaurant workers must receive at least the following amount in tips per hour in order for employers to use the tip credit: New York City – Large Employers (with 11 or more employees): $3.50 New York City – Small Employers (with 10 or fewer employees): $3.00 Long Island & Westchester: $2.50 Remainder of New York State: $2.20 Fast Food Workers Additionally, restaurant workers in the fast food industry will see an increase in hourly wage rates. Employees who qualify for this increase include any person working at a fast food establishment whose job duties include at least one of the following: customer service, cooking, food or drink preparation, delivery, security, stocking supplies or equipment, cleaning, or routine maintenance. On December 31, 2016, the minimum hourly wage rates for all fast food workers will increase according to the following specifications: New York City: $12.00 Rest of the State: $10.75 For more information about your rights as a restaurant worker, take a look at our Top 10 Restaurant Pay Violations.