On December 31, 2019, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he had directed the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) to eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers of all employers covered by the Minimum Wage Order for Miscellaneous Industries and Occupations. The governor’s announcement came on the heels of a recently released NYSDOL report that found that wage underpayment in the tip system disproportionately affected women, minorities, and immigrants. Employers that fall under this wage order include nail salons, hair salons, car washes, parking garages, tow truck companies, pet groomers, and tour guide agencies. The order impacts over 70,000 employees in New York.
On October 27, 2016, the New York City Council passed legislation that would establish protections for freelance workers. “Establishing protections for freelance workers” (Int 1017-2015) protects independent contractors’ rights by requiring that certain contracts be in writing, by establishing payment timelines, by prohibiting retaliation, and by establishing an outreach and education program to assist freelance workers. The first-in-the-nation bill, which is also being referred to as the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, creates penalties for violating independent contractors’ rights, including statutory damages, double damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees.