New York Changes Laws Related to Servers, Will Other States Follow Suit?

Posted on February 16, 2011

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We are all aware of (and many of us have experienced) the infamously low wages paid to restaurant servers and other employees who are supposed to garner most of their income from tips.

A recent law passed in New York changes many of the rules for servers. Here’s a quick summary of the highlights of the law as reported by the New York Labor & Employment Law Report:

  • Servers must be paid at least $5.00/hour, and the addition of their tips must match or exceed the current minimum wage ($7.25). (For resort workers, the minimum is $4.90; For service employees that don’t work in resorts, the minimum is $5.65.)
  • Any service employee who spends two hours/day or 20% of a shift outside of the tipping environment has to get the full minimum wage for the entire day.
  • Only servers, counter and bar personnel, bussers, food runners, captains and hosts can participate in tip sharing and/or pooling. Records about the tip sharing arrangement have to be kept for six years.
  • Servers who work shifts they were not originally scheduled for when the boss calls are entitled to overtime pay.
  • Employers don’t have to pay for uniform maintenance so long as the uniform is “wash and wear.”
  • Employers get a $2.50 meal credit against a server’s wages if the server eats on the job.

The law went into effect on January 1, 2011, but employers have until February 28 to catch up. However, they will have to pay employees the new wages in arrears dating back to January 1.

It remains to be seen whether or not other states will adopt similar legislation.

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Posted in: Current Affairs