Tipped employees in New York are about to see a bigger number on their paychecks. New York Acting Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino has approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s wage board request to increase the minimum paid wage of every tipped employee from $5 to $7.50 per hour starting on Dec. 31.
While employees may be cheering, some in the restaurant industry are firing back. “By rubberstamping an extreme, unprecedented 50 percent increase it becomes hard to believe New York is really ‘Open for Business,’” said Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, in a statement.
Currently, the federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour in direct wages. However, if the employee’s income, including tips, does not equal the federal minimum wage of $8, then the employer must make up the difference.
There is a chance that this increase in tipped minimum wage might push some New York establishments to increase their overall wage for employees to the New York minimum wage of $9, as of Dec. 31, and forego tipping in their establishments entirely.
Cuomo has also pushed for an increase in minimum wage for those working in New York City and the five surrounding boroughs to $11.50 dollars per hour. Fast food employees however, continue to protest in New York and throughout the country for a $15 per hour minimum wage in a protest effort dubbed “Fight for $15.” Home health care workers recently also announced that they would be joining the protest with events and rallies in 21 cities across the nation.