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Minimum Wage Theft

Minimum Wage Theft is prevalent on Long Island and in New York City as it is throughout the United States. Our attorneys handle many cases in which workers are cheated out of their hard-earned wages. In recent years, we have recovered more than $11 million in cases representing workers with minimum wage claims.

This page provides information about New York minimum wage laws under the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”). While the Federal Fair Labor Standard Act, provides workers with minimum wage protection, the NYLL provides even greater protection to workers.

What is the Minimum Wage in New York?

Federal law provides a nationwide minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. However, several states are doing a better job of ensuring their workers are paid fairly. In Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the five boroughs, the minimum wage is $15.00 per hour in 2023 and is scheduled to rise each year until 2026.

Effective DateNYC, Westchester, and Long IslandRemainder of New York State
January 1, 2023$15.00/hour$14.20/hour
January 1, 2024$16.00/hour$15.00/hour
January 1, 2025$16.00/hour$15.50/hour
January 1, 2026$17.00/hour$16.00/hour

For information about New Jersey’s minimum wage law, see our New Jersey Wage Theft Page.

The statute of limitations for a New York minimum wage claim claims is six years. A lawsuit filed in 2024 can cover an employer’s failure to pay workers in 2018. Federal and New York state laws require employers to pay liquidated damages for most claims taken to court, doubling the amount of damages owed.

Some employers refuse to pay their workers properly regardless of the consequences. For example, in one of our cases, the employer claimed that he would be out of business if he paid his workers according to the law. Obviously, an employer who refuses to follow the law should not be in business at all. Wage theft is a crime in New York. Unfortunately, few employers are prosecuted by law enforcement.  

How Employers Cheat Workers

Many employers violate the New York minimum wage law by misclassifying their employees as volunteers, unpaid interns, or independent contractors. However, the law does not allow for-profit companies to have volunteers working for them. Moreover, there are strict requirements for independent contractors and unpaid interns, which are often ignored by employers. For more information about independent contractor misclassification see our page on the subject.

Employers often require employees to pay for expenses that should be paid by the employer. Such expenses include the cost of work tools, breakages, uniforms, or uniform maintenance. Employers violate the law when they subtract the cost of those expenses from the employee’s minimum wage pay. This practice drops the worker’s effective wage below the bare minimum allowed by law. 

Restaurant and catering workers are often victims of wage theft. An employer in New York can receive credit toward the minimum wage for tips received by tipped workers. However, taking the credit requires strict compliance with the tip credit rules. These rules are often ignored by restaurant and catering employers. For more information about these schemes see our page for restaurant worker ripoffs.

Many unscrupulous employers will engage in fraudulent practices to cover up their minimum wage and overtime violations. Some of those practices include forcing workers to sign false statements or giving up their legal rights. Employers have also been known to create fraudulent time and pay records, and retaliate against workers based on false pretenses. We are experienced in identifying and addressing these fraudulent practices in court.

If you believe that you are the victim of minimum wage theft practices contact our attorneys for a free consultation.

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