Labor Seal NYS Department of Labor                          

Contact Leo Rosales Cell: 518-281-6167 Office: 518-457-5519 Email: leo.rosales@labor.ny.gov www.labor.ny.gov
New York State Announces Year-to-Date Recovery of More Than $10.5 Million in Wages Owed to Workers Statewide
Reminds Employers Minimum Wage Increases to $7.25/Hour Today; Department of Labor Will Strictly Enforce Wage Laws

Albany, NY (July 24, 2009) - State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith today announced that, since January 1, 2009, the agency’s Division of Labor Standards has recovered $10,560,000 in wages owed to 10,395 workers statewide due to minimum wage and other labor law violations. She also reminded the state’s employers and workers that today, the minimum wage goes up to $7.25 per hour.

“Enforcement of the state’s wage laws is a high priority for the Labor Department,” said Commissioner Smith. “I applaud the work that our Division of Labor Standards is doing to make sure that hard-working New Yorkers are paid what they are due. Employers should take note that as of today, July 24, the minimum wage increases to $7.25 per hour. Although this increase is only 10 cents per hour, we will remain vigilant in our efforts to make sure that workers get all of the money they are owed.”

To help ensure compliance with the minimum wage law, the Labor Department is conducting outreach to businesses and workers. “Our outreach program is educating workers across the state to make certain that all New Yorkers, especially those immigrants and others who work in traditionally low-wage occupations, understand their right to receive the legal minimum rate,” said Commissioner Smith.

The new minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is effective today, July 24, 2009. It represents a ten-cent increase from the previous minimum wage and is in keeping with the federal minimum wage provisions contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The law permits workers who receive tips, meals or lodging to receive a slightly lower rate set by law, but their total compensation must equal at least the minimum wage. In addition to hourly wages, employers are required to pay workers overtime at one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay after forty hours per week.

Details on the minimum wage, including rates and allowances for workers who receive tips and other compensation, are available on the Department of Labor web site at www.labor.ny.gov. The mandatory minimum wage poster, which all New York State employers are required to post in the workplace, is also available on the web site.

The Labor Department’s Division of Labor Standards enforces State Labor Laws concerning minimum wage, hours of work, child labor, payment of wages and wage supplements, industrial homework, apparel industry registration and farm labor. Penalties for non-compliance with minimum wage laws include paying up to 200 percent of the amount of the missing wages, depending on the severity of the violation and other factors, and 16 percent interest on the unpaid wages. Random sweeps are conducted in industries that traditionally employ immigrants and low-wage workers to ensure they are being paid properly.

The State Labor Department has bilingual investigators throughout the state who are able to aid employers or workers with issues relating to compliance with New York’s labor laws. To file a complaint, or to ask questions, please call 1-888-52-LABOR.