New York State Wage and Hour Update: New Bills Proposed

Recently, there have been several bills proposed in New York State which pertain to the wage and hour laws in the State. Specifically, Assembly bill 10757 and Senate bill 8594 have been introduced which would prohibit the commissioner of labor and the department of labor from preempting, altering or superseding the prohibition against wage boards amending, altering or eliminating the food service tip credit.

Assembly bill 10636 has been proposed which provides that, if an annual increase to the minimum wage set by the state labor department eliminates the tip credit, counties could opt out of the increase as it relates to food service workers and service employees. 

Senate bill 8307 would cap the minimum wage as established as of December 31, 2017 for firms that employ 50 workers or less (small employers) and for employees aged between 16 and 20. Further, a new subdivision 7 would set the minimum wage for in the City of New York at $13.00 per hour, $11.00 for Long Island and Westchester County, and $10.40 for the rest of the State for all employees working for firms with fifty employees or less.

In addition, Senate bill 6793 proposes to require that an eligible employee be paid no more than the minimum wage plus 50 cents. The credit equals the total hours worked by the employee during the taxable year at such rate, multiplied by the applicable tax credit rate for that year, which the bill keeps at $1.35.

Currently, the tax credit is designed to incentivize employers to hire and train student-employees who may be new to the labor market but because of the way the credit is presently structured, employers who give student-employees even a modest hourly raise are no longer eligible to receive credit for those student-employees. This bill would correct this disincentive to provide student-employees with a modest raise by allowing credit for wages that are not in excess of the applicable minimum wage plus 50 cents. The justification of the change is that it would allow employers to create longer-term training programs with increasing responsibilities. The claim is that such programs would benefit the employers, student-employees and the State of New York because these student-employees would be better prepared to enter the full-time employment market because they would have more advanced marketable job skills. The bill has passed the Senate and awaits votes from the Assembly.

We will continue to keep you advised if there are any developments with these proposals.