- New York Wage Board Recommends Minimum Wage of $15 per Hour for Fast Food Workers
- July 31, 2015 | Author: Aaron Warshaw
- Law Firm: Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. - New York Office
- As we previously reported, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently appointed a Wage Board to make recommendations on increasing the minimum wage for New York State fast food employees. Throughout the recent public meeting process, fast food employers have roundly criticized any proposed minimum wage increase focused solely on one industry as unfair. Nonetheless, on July 22, 2015, the New York State Department of Labor’s Fast Food Wage Board announced their widely-expected recommendation to increase the minimum wage in the fast food industry up to $15.00 per hour. At a press conference, the Wage Board’s three members justified their recommendation by finding that the wages of fast food workers were insufficient to provide for the maintenance, health, and lifestyle of such workers.
$15 Per Hour for New York Fast Food Workers
The three-member Wage Board unanimously recommended that the minimum wage for fast food workers increase to $15.00 per hour, to be “phased in” as follows:
New York City:
- $10.50 per hour by December 31, 2015;
- $12.00 per hour by December 31, 2016;
- $13.50 per hour by December 31, 2017; and
- $15.00 per hour by December 31, 2018.
- $9.75 per hour by December 31, 2015;
- $10.75 per hour by December 31, 2016;
- $11.75 per hour by December 31, 2017;
- $12.75 per hour by December 31, 2018;
- $13.75 per hour by December 31, 2019;
- $14.50 per hour by December 31, 2020; and
- $15.00 per hour by July 1, 2021.
Defining “Fast Food Employee” and “Fast Food Establishment”
The Wage Board further recommended that “Fast Food Employee” be defined as persons employed by a “Fast Food Establishment” whose duties include one of the following: “customer service, cooking, food or drink preparation, delivery, security, stocking supplies or equipment, cleaning, or routine maintenance.”
Under the recommendations, “Fast Food Establishment” is defined as one:
- “where patrons order or select items and pay before eating and such items may be consumed on the premises, taken out, or delivered to the customer’s location”;
- “which offers limited service”;
- “which is part of a chain,” meaning a set of establishments which share a common brand, or which are characterized by standardized options for décor, marketing, packaging, products, and services; and
- which is one of 30 or more establishments nationally, including franchised locations.
We will continue to monitor the recommendations as they are considered by Commissioner Musolino. Subject to a successful legal challenge, the fast food wage increase now appears to be inevitable. Accordingly, New York State fast food employers are strongly encouraged to begin reviewing their payroll and business practices to accommodate the new law. The recommendations are available on the Fast Food Wage Board’s website.