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Learn about New York City’s fast-food rate of pay laws

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2022 | Employment Law, Food & Beverage/Alcohol Industry

As a fast-food franchise owner, it’s very important to make sure that you are paying your employees fairly. For many years, fast-food workers tended to be paid fairly low wages, but changes to the law in New York have increased these wages for many.

You need to know what these increases mean, what you’re now obligated to pay and what to do if an employee ever alleges that you are paying them too little. This could be an easy mistake to make for business owners who have not closely followed these legal changes.

What is the minimum wage for fast-food workers?

Fast-food employees in New York City are entitled to $15 per hour (since 2018). It took until 2021 for the pay rates in other state locations to match what this city has paid fast-food workers for more than four years.

For employees to receive $15 per hour under this law, the place of employment needs to meet the state definition of a fast-food establishment. Examples include:

  • It is part of a franchise or chain with at least 30 locations (state and nationwide)
  • It primarily serves food and beverages (coffee shops, juice bars, etc.)
  • It only offers limited service (customers pay when ordering at a counter, for example)

Even delivery or takeout only and buffet-style establishments may meet the fast-food definition if they have 30 or more locations.

If your workplace meets the definition, it is wise to learn more about fast food employment laws in New York. Employees must not get less than the law mandates. It can help to work with an experienced team when setting your pay rates, updating those rates or facing any potential litigation of accusations that your employees are not paid enough.