Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Note On Minimum Wage Confusion

Effective January 1, 2007, New York State increased its minimum wage to $7.15 per hour. This is exclusive of industries where tip service credits are applicable (e.g., food services) which thereby result in a lower hourly rate. The Federal minimum wage is presently $5.15 per hour.

There appears to be widespread confusion as to which of these two minimum wages to pay. In New York (as well as many other states), the rule of thumb is to pay the higher of the two rates. Since New York's minimum wage rate is higher than its Federal equivalent, New York employers are generally required to pay the higher wage rate. Why is this information important? Well, it seems that some employers may have been paying the lower rate unwittingly (I hope it wasn't intentionally), and are now being advised by their friendly New York State Department of Labor investigator that back wages, penalties and interest are due. As a general proposition and where a good faith defense of full payment does not exist, I look to the credo of "The Borg" for guidance on this one ... resistance is futile.

No comments: