Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces the second increase toward a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage and the launch of the paid family leave policy yesterday in Hauppauge.
Courtesy photo: Kevin Coughlin/office of the governor

The minimum wage on Long Island for most workers, including farm workers and non-fast food service workers, and hospitality workers, increased to $11 per hour as of yesterday. The minimum hourly rate for overtime — over 40 hours per week — rose to $16.50.

Employers of tipped workers in the food service industry can claim a credit of up to $3.50 per hour but must pay the tipped worker no less than $7.50 per hour. Employers in other hospitality sectors can claim an hourly credit of $1.85 but must pay the worker at least $9.15 per hour.

Workers in the fast food industry on Long Island will now be paid a minimum of $11.75 per hour, with an overtime rate of $17.63 for hours in excess of 40 per week.

The state labor department has an online tool to help residents calculate the minimum wage due them. The tool is available in English and seven other languages, including Spanish, Polish and Russian.

Also effective today in New York is a paid family leave policy that will allow New York workers to take job-protected paid time off to care for a child during the first 12 months following birth, adoption or foster placement of a child; or to care for a sick spouse, domestic partner, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild. Employees with a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent who has been notified of an order of active military service abroad will also be entitled to paid family leave.

When the policy is fully phased in, workers will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid time off.

Full-time employees with a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week will be eligible for paid family leave after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time employees with a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week can apply for paid family leave after working 175 days for their employer.

Eligible employees will be paid by a state fund – not by their employers – financed by deductions taken directly from employees’ wages, not from tax contributions paid by employers.

More information on the new paid family leave law is available here.

The new year also brings new lower state tax rates in New York that Gov. Andrew Cuomo said will save middle-class taxpayers nearly $6.6 billion in the first four years. Annual savings are projected to reach $4.2 billion and benefit 6 million filers by 2025, Cuomo said.

As the new rates phase in, they will be the state’s lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years, the governor said. On Long Island, taxpayers will see an averagestate tax cut of $301 in 2018 and an average state tax cut of $847 when fully phased in in 2025.

“New York has made major strides in the fight for economic equality, social justice and workers’ rights and with the rollout of this historic minimum wage increase and the strongest paid family leave program in the country, we continue to protect the wallets of middle class New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.

“New York believes in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and no family member should have to choose between caring for a loved one or losing their job – this victory will help restore fairness and equality to working families across New York,” the governor said.
Cuomo signed the minimum wage and family leave bills into law in April 2016. 

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.