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Minimum Wage Update: should you be making more?

June 24th, 2019 Emma O'Connor

Minimum WageNumerous states, including New York, are raising their minimum wage effective on July 1, 2019.  Click here to see the new policies for over 20 states beginning this July or later, including New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, and Washington.  

Minimum wage violations were one of the most popular claims made against employers in just the past six months.  Underpayment is particularly prevalent in the restaurant industry. According to the New York City Health Department, about one-quarter of restaurant workers have sued their employers for unpaid wages in the past decade.  Therefore, regularly checking your state’s minimum wage helps you hold your employer accountable for these violations.  

New York’s Minimum Wage Update

If you work in New York state, your new minimum wage depends on the region and company at which you work.  For example:

  • If you work for a small employer (between 1-10 employees) in New York City, you are entitled to $13.50 per hour on December 31, 2019.  
  • If you work for a larger employer (11+ employees) in New York City, you are entitled to $15.00 per hour on December 31, 2019.  
  • If you work in either Westchester, Nassau, or Suffolk counties, you are entitled to $13.00 on December 31, 2019, $14.00 on December 31, 2020, and $15.00 on December 31, 2021.
  • If you are employed elsewhere in New York state, you are entitled to $11.80 on December 31, 2019, and $12.50 on December 31, 2020.

Note that fast-food industry workers and tipped workers have different rates.

Minimum Wages Across the US

Despite the rising cost of living due to inflation, the federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 for the past ten years. However, the US’ average minimum wage is currently $11.80 because many states have independently changed their policies.  29 states have raised their minimum wages above the federal level to accommodate higher living expenses in more costly regions.  This means that 6.8 million Americans are entitled to more than the federal minimum wage. According to the Department of Labor, Washington D.C. currently has the highest minimum of any state at $13.25.  However, several expensive cities, including New York City, will adopt $15.00 minimum wages as soon as 2019.  In contrast, individuals living in the 17 states that merely apply the federal minimum wage have 16% less purchasing power than they did a decade ago.

The effects of wage increases are highly debated.  Some believe that they are partially responsible for the 2.3% of growth over the past three years for the bottom third of earners.  Others argue that they have led to the elimination of low-skill jobs. 

Seek Legal Assistance Today

If your employer isn’t paying you the minimum wage requirement of your state, seek legal assistance today. The Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.