Cuomo to Raise Tipped Wage to $7.50

ALBANY (AP) —
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday at an event in Brooklyn after discussing his budget proposal. (Office of the Governor)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday at an event in Brooklyn after discussing his budget proposal. (Office of the Governor)

Restaurant servers, hotel housekeepers and other tipped workers in New York will soon make $7.50 an hour before tips, a big raise for thousands of workers and a significant increase in labor costs for business owners.

Like most states, New York allows businesses to pay tipped workers less than the state’s minimum wage as long as tips make up the difference. Currently, servers in New York make $5 per hour, compared to a minimum wage of $8.75. The increase will take effect Dec. 31.

“The sweetest success is shared success, when we all do well together,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday at a Manhattan labor rally. “We want businesses to do well. Let’s share with the workforce. Let’s all rise together. That’s what New York has been about. That’s what this nation is all about.”

But restaurant owners warn the higher labor costs will force them to raise menu prices, reduce hours for workers, or close altogether.

“Tipped workers make their living on tips, not hourly wages,” said Brad Rosenstein, the third-generation owner of a seafood store  in Albany, where he says servers often make three times the minimum wage in tips or more. “It’s just a question of time before inflation hits the restaurant industry. It’s becoming harder and harder to operate a restaurant in New York State.”

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