State Creates Wage Board For Food Service Workers

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has asked Peter M. Rivera, state labor commissioner, to convene a wage board to review and recommend any changes to the relevant regulations for food service workers and service employees in New York state.

“When the Legislature enacted my proposal to increase the minimum wage, thousands of New Yorkers saw their economic prospects improve,” Cuomo said. “Now, to build on that momentum I am directing Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera to call a Wage Board and hold public hearings to ensure fairness and determine if changes need to be made to the regulations that govern the rates paid to service workers.”

On Dec. 31, 2013, the minimum wage for all workers increased from $7.25 per hour to $8 per hour. This was the first in a series of three annual changes approved under the budget agreement in 2013. The minimum wage will increase to $8.75 on Dec.31, 2014 and again to $9 on Dec. 31, 2015.

Tipped workers are paid a required base rate. Their tips added to that base pay must equal or exceed the minimum wage. The Wage Board will meet to review regulations for food service workers and service employees and recommend changes if needed.

The Wage Board, made up of members representing labor, businesses and the public, will make a recommendation to the commissioner, who will then announce a final determination by February 2015.

“Per Gov. Cuomo’s charge, I am going to convene this Wage Board to review regulations and make recommendations for service employees,” Rivera said. “Business has changed since the last minimum wage increase. I will task these individuals with determining if the base pay for tipped food service workers should be amended and, if so, by how much.”

Members of the Wage Board will be: Heather C. Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council; Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel Trade Council; and Timothy Grippen, retired Broome County executive.

A schedule of public hearings will be announced soon.