As of December 31, 2020, the minimum wage in New York State is set at $12.50 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The previous New York State minimum wage was $11.80 per hour. However, minimum wage rates vary depending on location, employer size, and type of employer.
Different minimum wage rates also exist within the fast food industry, on Long Island, in Westchester County, and for employers in New York City.
New York City Minimum Wage
In New York City, the minimum wage for businesses (11 employees or more) is $15.00 per hour. For smaller businesses (10 or fewer employees), the minimum wage increased from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour on December 31, 2019.
Long Island and Westchester Minimum Wage
Long Island and Westchester also have a higher minimum wage than the rest of the state: $14.00 per hour effective December 31, 2020. The minimum wage in these regions will rise to $15.00 in 2021.
Minimum Wage by Job Category
The minimum wage and future increases are different for each category of employee. For example, there are different minimums for farm workers, nail salon employees, building services workers, and people who work in the hospitality industry.
New York State Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers
The following minimum wage rates for fast food workers who work for a chain with 30 or more establishments was approved by a state wage panel.
Fast Food Minimum Wage Rates for New York State, Excluding New York City:
- $14.50 per hour on December 31, 2020;
- $15.00 on July 1, 2021.
Fast Food Minimum Wage for New York City:
- $15.00 per hour
New York Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers
Workers who receive tips are paid under a different minimum wage structure in New York. The cash wage, or base service rate, varies according to the size of the employing business and its location.
If tips aren't sufficient to reach minimum wage, the employer is required to pay the minimum wage for tipped employees.
Minimum Wage for App-Based Drivers
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) voted on December 4, 2018, to set the nation’s first minimum pay rate for app-based drivers. The rate is set at $17.22 per hour after expenses ($26.51 per hour gross pay) and went into effect on December 31, 2018.
According to the TLC, this increase raised pay by at least $9,600 per year for 90 percent of the drivers for high-volume app-based for-hire vehicle services in the city.
Future New York State Minimum Wage Increases
On December 31, 2021, New York's minimum wage will increase to an amount that will be announced by October 1, 2021. Increases will continue until the state rate hits an hourly rate of $15.00.
History of New York's Minimum Wage
- A general minimum wage was established on October 1, 1960, before which minimum wage rates depended on the industry. The first New York State minimum wage was $1.00 per hour.
- Since it was established in October 1960, the New York State minimum wage has gradually increased, with the first rapid increase occurring over a period of several years in the mid-to-late 1970s.
- The national minimum wage was established over two decades prior to this—in 1938.
More or Less Than the Federal Minimum Wage
New York is one of many states whose minimum wage tends to be higher than the federal minimum wage, for both tipped and untipped workers. A few states match federal minimum wage and even fewer mandate a minimum wage that is less than the federal minimum wage.
When a state’s minimum wage law attempts to set a pay rate that is less than the federal minimum wage law, the federal minimum wage law supersedes the state minimum wage law.
When a state—like New York—has a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage supersedes the federal requirement.
In short, minimum wage laws are always set to favor the employee by establishing the federal or state minimum wage at whichever is the higher wage.
The information contained in this article is not legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law.