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Understanding New York's minimum wage laws and exemptions

Throughout the United States, including New York, there are both federal and state laws protecting employees' rights and assuring them a minimum wage for their time at work. Although the federal minimum wage in the U.S. is set at $7.25 per hour, if state minimum wage laws are higher, such as in New York, they take precedent over the federal rate.

In New York, the current minimum wage is $8.75 per hour. This rate will increase to $9.00 per hour on December 31, 2015. This wage rate is applicable for most employees working in the state. There are a couple of exceptions though, many of which cover service-based employment which often relies on tips as part of an employee's income.

For example, minimum wage paid by employers to food service workers is $5.00 per hour. However, if the hourly earnings of workers who collect tips do not meet the state's $8.75 minimum, the employer is responsible for making up the difference. The same rules are applicable to other service workers, who are entitled to a $5.65 per hour minimum rate, not including tips.

There are additional exceptions and various lodging and meal deductions for employees working in farming and other industries and occupations. These laws and exceptions are often complicated, and may leave an employee confused and intimidated. And there are occasions when an employee's rights are violated or ignored by an employer. To make sure you have a full understanding of your rights as an employee in your industry, it may be a good idea to get more information about employee law in New York.

Source:, "Minimum Wage and Overtime Basics," Accessed on Aug. 24, 2015

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