Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Labor Commissioner convened a Wage Board to examine the wage orders currently applicable to New York hotel and restaurant employers. As a result of proposed recommendations by the Wage Board, the Commissioner of Labor issued an order in November accepting many of the recommendations. Some of the more significant changes that were accepted include:
- Consolidating the Restaurant and Hotel Wage Orders into one “Hospitality Industry Wage Order”;
- Increasing the tipped minimum wage for food service workers in stages to $4.75 per hour effective January 1, 2010 (or the effective date of the new regulations, if later); and to $5.00 per hour effective January 1, 2011;
- Requiring employers to notify tipped employees of any tip allowances that will be taken and to disallow the tip allowance if such notice is not given;
- Defining tip sharing and tip pooling, and continuing to permit employers to require tip sharing and set the shares for tip sharing;
- Providing more specific guidance about what constitutes a required uniform and what the “ordinary wardrobe” exclusion entails; and to exempt “wash-and-wear uniforms” from the uniform maintenance allowance where the employer meets stated conditions, consistent with federal practice; and
- Requiring employers to pay an hourly rate to all employees who are not excluded from the definition of the term “employee” in the hospitality wage order.
The order is effective 30 days after publication of a notice of filing with the Secretary of the Department of Labor in at least 10 newspapers of general circulation in New York. However, until regulations (emergency or permanent) are issued, the effective date is unclear.
Note: This article was published in the December 2009 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.