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Hospitality Industry for Employers: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will there be a new listing of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Fast Food minimum wage increase?


Yes.  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Fast Food Industry will be coming soon.


Q: What is the New York State minimum wage?

A: Today the minimum wage is $8.75 per hour.  However, the minimum wage will increase to $9.00 per hour on 12/31/15.

Q: Are future increases in the Minimum Wage expected?

A: The only scheduled minimum wage increase is to $9.00 per hour on 12/31/15.

Q: Are all employees who work in New York State entitled to the minimum wage increase?

A: Almost every person who works in hotels or restaurants in New York State is covered by minimum wage law and regulations and must be paid accordingly.

Q: If my employees already make more than minimum wage, do I need to give them a raise?

A: No, you only need to raise the rates of pay for employees who make less than $9.00 per hour in 2016.

Q: How does the minimum wage increase affect non-service (non-tipped) employees, like cooks?

A: Non-service employees working in the hospitality industry must be paid an hourly rate, and their pay should be at least $9.00 per hour in 2016.

Q: Does that mean I have to increase the amount I pay to tipped employees?

A: Yes. You have to increase the amount you pay to tipped workers to $7.50 per hour and, whenever they work long hours (overtime pay, after 40 hours per week and "spread-of-hours" pay, after 10 hours per day) and when they are entitled to call-in pay and uniform maintenance pay.  In addition, whenever tipped employees receive less than $9.00 per hour in wages and tips, you will have to make up the difference by increasing the amount you pay to bring the total of wages plus tips up to the minimum $9.00 per hour required for all workers. See further below for more FAQs related to these topics.

Q: Will I still be able to take tip credits for all tipped employees?

A: It depends.  For food service workers, like waiters and bus persons, you will be able to take credit for any amount of tips received up to the maximum tip credit of $1.50.  But for service employees, the minimum threshold amounts of tips that employees must receive before you can claim any tip credit will increase.  For service employees, the minimum will increase to $1.95 in 2016.  For service employees at resort hotels, the minimum will increase to $5.05 in 2016.

Q: How does the minimum wage increase affect pay for spread of hours and call-in pay and overtime?

A: The 12/31/15 increase in the minimum wage rate will increase all of those rates.  Spread of hours and call-in pay will increase by the same amount as the minimum wage because such pay requires additional hours to be paid at the minimum wage rate.  For overtime, which requires a 50% premium after 40 hours, the overtime pay will increase along with the minimum wage.

Q: How does the minimum wage increase affect credits for meals and lodging I provide to employees?

A: The credits that employers may claim for meals and lodging increase in proportion to the increases in the minimum wage for non-service employees, but they remain the same for tipped employees (food service workers and service employees). See the summary sheet for specific examples.

Q: Does the minimum wage increase mean I have to pay more to employees who maintain uniforms themselves?

A: Yes. The uniform maintenance rate increases for all employees in the hospitality industry. See the summary sheet for specific rates and the LS 400 for guidance on uniforms.

Q: Will I have to pay more to employees who work a shift, or shifts that extend over 10 hours?

A: Yes. The spread of hours pay is equal to 1 hour at the minimum wage rate. For each workday a shift, or shifts, go over 10 hours, this “extra” pay is owed to employees. The amount will increase to $9.00 on 12/31/15.

Q: Will the call in pay rates increase when the minimum wage increases?

A: Yes, because it is based on the minimum wage rate, call in pay will increase to $9.00/hr on 12/31/15. See Part 146-1.5 of the Hospitality Wage Order for details.

Q: What will the overtime rate be when the minimum wage increases?

A: The overtime rate of pay is always 1½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay. For example: $10.00 per hour regular rate = $15.00 per hour overtime rate.

For tipped employees earning a cash wage less than the minimum wage, the overtime rate is always 1 ½ times the minimum wage rate, minus the applicable tip credit.  For example, to calculate the overtime pay for a food service employee who earns $7.50/hr for non-overtime hours, and who works 50 hours per week, you would do the following:  

Regular rate:  

 $9.00 per hour

Overtime rate:  $ 9.00 x 1.5 =

  $13.50 per hour

Wage rate for 40 hours:                          $ 9.00 - $1.50 (tip credit) =  

 $7.50 per hour

Wage rate for 10 hours:                          

$13.50 - $1.50 (tip credit) =

 $12.00 per hour

Wages due for the workweek:                                   $ 7.50 x 40 hours =

 $  300.00

  $ 12.00 x 10 hours =



$  420.00


Q: When do I have to raise my employees’ pay rates?

A: For employees who are earning less than the minimum wage, you should increase their rates of pay on 12/31/15.

Q: Do I need to provide a new pay notice for the increase in the minimum wage rate?

A: Hospitality Industry employees must receive a new pay notice each time his or her pay rate changes.


Q: Where can I get more information and updated posters?


For copies of the Hospitality Industry Wage Order, Summary of Rates and Credits, and updated posters visit our main web page.

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