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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Minimum Wage Increase Now in Effect Across New York

Commissioner Lorelei Salas and Representatives from DCA & SBS speaking with a local business owner about key City laws that apply to his store. Photo: NYC DCA 

Last December the Department of Consumer Affairs Visited Businesses Citywide to Remind Employers that Minimum Wage Increase takes effect on December 31, 2016 

City Inspectors Issue Advice, Not Violations, to Local Businesses Across the City

NEW YORK — Commissioner Lorelei Salas of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and members of her staff, as well as representatives from the City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and Small Business Services (SBS), visited businesses in all five boroughs this past December to educate businesses about the increase in the state minimum wage.

Throughout the day, teams visited businesses in East Harlem, Flatbush, Parkchester, Sunnyside and Westerleigh/Castleton to distribute postcards (BengaliChinese, Haitian-CreoleKoreanRussian and Spanish) reminding local businesses that the New York State minimum wage goes up for all workers regardless of status on December 31, 2016. DCA also mailed the postcard to 325,000 New York City employers. Staff and inspectors also provided businesses with information about how to comply with key workplace, consumer protection, and licensing laws that the Agency enforces—without issuing violations.

Commissioner Lorelei Salas speaks with a local business owner about workplace, consumer protection, and licensing laws that apply to his business—handing out key publications and not violations. Photo: NYC DCA

“Proactively educating employers about how to comply with the law is a key component of the work that our Office of Labor Policy and Standards does and essential to all of DCA’s work to create a culture of compliance. With only two weeks left to go before the minimum wage goes up, it is vital that employers are planning for the increase,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “This increase, which is the largest percentage increase low-wage workers have seen in New York in 60 years, is going to be good for workers, for businesses, and for all of our city’s neighborhoods.”

Last December 31, 2016, the minimum wage increase in New York State took effect for all workers regardless of status.

The wage varies depending on the size and type of the business (see chart below). For additional information or to file a complaint, visit New York State Department of Labor’s website at or call 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365).

Number of Employees Type/ New York State Minimum Wage
11 or more/ $11.00 per hour
10 or less/ $10.50 per hour
Fast Food/ $12.00 per hour

An increase in the minimum wage is critical to helping hardworking New Yorkers make ends meet. According to the Economic Policy Institute, more than a third of the workers impacted are raising at least one child, and the wage hike will help almost 75 percent of people living below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Several large employers around the country have already started raising wages to better recruit and retain workers, and to improve customer service. Higher wages can also benefit smaller or lower-margin businesses in sectors such as retail and food service, which can grow even while paying decent wages.

Minimum wage increases have been found to benefit larger and smaller businesses alike. In an op-ed in Forbes earlier this year, Bill Phelps, the CEO of Wetzel’s Pretzels, a national chain, reported a doubling of same-store sales in California following each of two minimum wage increases there since 2014. Here in New York City, home-grown coffee shop chain CafĂ© Grumpy pays most of its employees at least $14 an hour and has continued to grow since it opened its first store in 2005. In January, it is set to open its eighth location in the city.

Business Education Day team proudly hold up the purple postcard that alerts NYC that the minimum wage is going up on December 31, 2016. Photo: NYC DCA

This is DCA’s eighth Business Education Day this year, during which the Agency has visited approximately 600 business to provide them with tools to comply with the law without issuing violations. Teams distributed relevant compliance materials in multiple languages including DCA’s easy-to-read Inspection Checklists to provide businesses with a detailed list of what DCA inspectors look for during an inspection. Putting these checklists directly into the hands of business owners will enable them to know exactly how to comply with laws and rules before they are visited by an inspector – this means fewer violations and fewer fines

The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCA licenses more than 81,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCA protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCA empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCA also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCA and its work, call 311 or visit DCA at or on its social media sites, TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

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