Minimum Wages in New York State 2021

Minimum wage NYS

The federal minimum wage is $7.50/hour. But New York, like many other states, has higher minimum wage rates.

Effective December 31, 2020, the minimum wage in New York state is at least $12.50/hour. However, the minimum wage rate applicable to a particular employee will vary by region and industry.

What follows is the various minimum wages across New York state for 2021, according to the New York State Department of Labor’s website.

Note: Exceptions may exist for certain employees, including employees of public entities, farm workers, seasonal workers, home care workers, student workers in certain situations, and others.

New York City

With the exception of tipped food service workers, the minimum wage for employees who work anywhere in New York City, for any employer, remains $15.00/hour.

Long Island and Westchester

The minimum wage for employees who work in Long Island or Westchester County has risen from $13.00/hour to $14.00/hour effective December 31, 2020, and then will rise to 15.00/hour on December 31, 2021.

The Remainder Of New York State

The minimum wage for employees who work anywhere else in New York state has risen from $11.80/hour to $12.50/hour effective December 31, 2020.

Tipped Food Service Workers

The current minimum wage for tipped food service workers in New York state is at least $8.35/hour. A comprehensive table detailing the tip credits and minimum cash wages for tipped food service workers in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, and the remainder of New York State can be found on the Department of Labor’s website.

Commensurate with the schedule of wage increases established in 2016 by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Commissioner of Labor will continue to raise minimum wage levels, until they reach $15.00/hour for the remainder of the state. Accordingly, the Commissioner for Labor is expected to announce new minimum wage levels for upstate NY based on increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Exempt Employees in New York State

In New York, employees are classified as either exempt from overtime pay, or non-exempt. Employees who meet the applicable minimum salary threshold, and who work in certain roles are exempt from being paid overtime. All other employees are entitled to be paid overtime, whether they are paid a salary or not.

Minimum Salary Thresholds Effective December 31, 2020

  •         New York City – $1,125/week ($58,500/year)
  •         Long Island and Westchester County – $1,050/week ($54,600/year)
  •         The remainder of New York State – $937.50/week ($48,750/year)

Most importantly, the ‘duties test’ to determine who is and isn’t an exempt employee has not changed.

Organizations will sometimes give employees certain job titles or pay them on a salary basis in an attempt to avoid paying them overtime and/or for extra hours worked. Unfortunately, an employee’s job title is irrelevant. Furthermore, the fact that an employee is paid on a salary basis, does not mean that they are exempt from being paid overtime or for extra hours worked.

Under New York labor law, in order for an employee to be exempt from overtime pay, the employee must both be paid on a salary basis and have exempt job duties. New York labor law has very specific guidelines that an employee must meet to qualify for either an executive, administrative, professional, outside salesman, computer employee, or other minimum wage and overtime exemption. Detailed information regarding these exemptions can be found on the New York State Department of Labor’s website.

Know Your Rights with Regard to Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay

New York’s minimum wage and overtime laws have been changed frequently over the last several years, and are not always easy to keep up with. To help employees keep track of these changes, the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act requires employers to issue wage statements to their employees. These statements must include:

  • The employee’s regular rate of pay;
  • The number of hours the employee has worked in the relevant pay period;
  • The employee’s overtime rate of pay; and
  • The employer’s contact information.

A thorough review of these wage statements is the first step in verifying that an employee has been paid properly. An employee not being issued a wage statement is an indication of two things. First, the employer is in violation of New York labor law. Next, the employer may be engaging in wage theft, or have something else to hide.

Some wage and hour violations are obvious, such as when an employee is required to clock out, but continue working. Other violations are not so obvious, for example when a non-exempt worker is expected to answer phone calls even when they are on an unpaid lunch break, or to receive calls after or before work hours.

Employees who have been paid less than the applicable minimum wage, have not been paid for all the hours they have worked, or who have not been paid properly for overtime have the right to seek reimbursement for unpaid wages and overtime through the New York State Department of Labor.

See also California Minimum Wages 2021

Minimum wage by state

New York State minimum wage poster

Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers in 2021 in New York State