Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to eliminate minimum wage tip credits in New York State.
In a news release sent out today, Cuomo said he’s directing the Commissioner of Labor to schedule public hearings that will examine industries and evaluate the possibility of ending minimum wage tip credits throughout the state, which allow employers to pay tipped employees less than the New York State minimum wage.
Certain industries such as car washing and restaurants typically have low wages because workers earn tips, which is meant to be a reward for good service but instead serves as “a critical wage subsidy that brings workers' wages just up to the legally mandated minimum wage,” according to Cuomo.
"At the end of day, this is a question of basic fairness. In New York, we believe in a fair day's pay for a fair day's work and that all workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect," Cuomo said in the release. "There should be no exception to that fairness and decency. I have directed the Department of Labor to ensure that no workers are more susceptible to exploitation because they rely on tips to survive. I look forward to reviewing the findings of these hearings."
Daily and weekly fluctuations in tips can make it difficult for workers to know whether or not they’re being underpaid, and it’s also difficult for employers to keep track of their employees’ tips, in turn making it more difficult for employers to know whether or not they’re meeting their obligations.
The public hearings will solicit input from workers, businesses and others.