As we approach the end of 2016, we thought it would be a good time to remind employers of the varying basic minimum hourly wage rates that will be in effect in 2017 in New England and New York.
Effective January 1, 2017, Connecticut’s basic minimum wage will increase from $9.60 to $10.10 per hour.
Maine’s statewide minimum hourly wage will increase to $9.00 in January and will increase by $1.00 increments annually until it reaches $12.00 an hour in 2020. The minimum hourly wage for tipped employees will increase to $5.00 next year (from $3.75), and will increase by $1.00 annually until it equals the regular minimum wage. Employers of tipped employees must ensure that the employees receive sufficient tips each week so that next year they earn at least the basic minimum hourly wage of $9.00 each week. In most situations, tipped employees have an average hourly rate that is higher than the basic minimum. There is also some discussion in Augusta that legislators may try to amend the law to maintain the tip credit. Please note that Portland has a separate minimum wage which increases to $10.68 in January.
Effective January 1, 2017, Massachusetts’ basic minimum wage will increase from $10.00 to $11.00 per hour.
The minimum hourly wage is the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, though the minimum wage for tipped employees is $3.27 rather than the federal minimum of $2.13. Under either the federal or state law, the employer must ensure that the employee receives sufficient tips in each week such that the employee earns at least $7.25 an hour.
Recent legislation signed into law will gradually raise the basic minimum wage to $15.00 per hour under different schedules in three state regions: (1) New York City; (2) “downstate,” including Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties; and (3) the remainder of New York State (“upstate”). For example, for workers employed in NYC by businesses with 11 or more employees, the minimum wage will increase to $11.00 per hour effective December 31, 2016; increase to $13.00 per hour as of December 31, 2017; and increase to $15.00 per hour as of December 31, 2018.
Rhode Island’s minimum hourly wage remains at $9.60.
Effective January 1, 2017, Vermont’s minimum hourly wage will increase from $9.60 to $10.00, and will further increase to $10.50 as of January 1, 2018. The minimum wage for tipped employees will be $5.00 an hour in 2017 and $5.25 an hour in 2018, provided an employee receives enough tips in a week so that an employee’s average hourly wage is at least $10.00 an hour next year and $10.50 in 2018. Increases after 2018 will be indexed to inflation.