Over the last few years, the idea of a more "livable wage" for minimum wage employees has started to gain traction in the United States, and as a result movements throughout the country are gaining awareness and making strides. In fact, Seattle, Washington, in 2013, and San Francisco and Los Angeles County, California, have all adapted the new wages. In the upcoming year, as many as nine more cities and five states are considering adopting a $15 minimum wage as well. Last week, the New York Times even posted an editorial calling for the United States Congress to pass a $15 federal minimum wage.
Currently, the United States federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour. However, state laws may overrule this minimum. Currently, 21 states still use the federal minimum. In New York, over the last three years the state minimum wage has gone up from $8.00 at the end of 2013, $8.75 at the end of 2014 and $9.00 as of last week on December 31, 2015.
It is important to note that there are a few exceptions to the minimum wage laws. The minimum wage rates are for non-salaried employees who do not work in service-based occupations that include tips as part of an employee's earnings. The "Tipped Worker Order" and "Fast Food Order" laws, as well as child performers and farm workers laws, have different regulations in New York as well.
To protect a worker's rights, it is imperative that employees understand the rules and regulations concerning their employment in any business. By state law, minimum wage information is required to be posted at every place of business. Any wage-and-hour disputes between an employee and the employer should be rectified and addressed immediately.
Source: Huffington Post, "The New York Times Calls For $15 Minimum Wage Nationwide," Daniel Marans, Dec. 28, 2015