After New York increased the minimum wage for some employees, more than 1.5 million New Yorkers saw a raise come their way. However, that doesn’t mean that all businesses were eager to comply so quickly. Many employees have found that they need legal guidance to ensure they’re not being taken advantage of.
If you are employed in New York and believe that you have not been compensated under the new laws, contact the New York wage attorneys at Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP now.
New York Minimum Wage Increase
On December 31, 2019, New York State officials increased the minimum wage for certain regions and counties in the state. This includes:
- New York City: $15 per hour for all size businesses
- Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties: $13 per hour
- Remainder of the state: $11.80 per hour
These new rates remained in effect until December 30, 2020.
Under the New York law of the Minimum Wage Act, all employees in New York State must receive at a minimum the applicable hourly wage rate.
However, Wage Orders can set industry-specific rates that may differ from the state minimum wage. It is important to understand that each industry has a set of rules that can cause minimum wage issues.
For example, here are some exceptions that exist in various industries:
- Any individual who works in the food, hospitality, or service industry may be qualified as a tipped employee. This means that some employers may take credit towards the basic minimum hourly rate. They can only do this if a service employee or food service worker receives enough tips to meet that minimum and if the employee has been notified of the tip credit.
- Individuals who work in the building service industry may receive an apartment or housing credit which applies towards their wages.
- Individuals who employ farmworkers are subjected to additional standards. This can pertain to living environments for seasonal employees, meals, etc
Industry-specific guidelines on minimum wage and applicable factors are available on the New York State Department of Labor website here.
While these guidelines exist, there is still room for error by employers. For example, Hudson Hall LLC was caught in the middle of a class-action lawsuit for not complying with new wage standards as employees were not correctly compensated and were not receiving overtime pay.
This is not the first or the last time a business will unfairly pay employees. But if it happens to you, know there are law firms out there who can help you seek justice.
Penalties for Minimum Wage Violations
Victims of minimum wage violations may be able to collect liquidated damages in addition to their lost wages. This means that you can collect 100% of your unpaid wages and an additional sum of money. In some situations, the sum may equate to your unpaid wages. This means you may have $1,000 in unpaid wages and another $1,000 in damages.
In addition, you may also collect the following fees as part of a winning case:
- Interest on unpaid wages
- Attorneys’ fees
- Legal costs
In cases where your employer failed to support pertinent information, you may also receive additional compensation for:
- Failure to provide notice of pay rate: Your employer must provide a written notice that includes the rate of pay, the employer’s legal business name, and other information. When your notice isn’t provided within ten business days of the start of employment, the employee can collect $50 for each workday that the violation continues. This continues up to $5,000.
- Failure to provide wage statements: Employers must provide documentation during each pay period that includes the rate of pay, the number of hours worked, deductions made, etc. When your employer fails to do so, you may be able to collect $250 for each day the violation continues. This continues up to $5,000.
New York Minimum Wage Violation: Brown Kwon & Lam
If you have not been compensated correctly under the new New York minimum wage requirements, contact the employment attorneys at Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP today. We fight for your right to a fair wage and ensure the payments you’re owed are given to you.