Press Release

Minimum Wage for 2006 Increases to $6.75 an Hour for Most Employees, and to $4.35 an Hour for Tipped Restaurant Workers


New York—The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 31-year-old civil rights organization that provides immigrant workers with legal advice and representation, reminds workers and business owners that the minimum wage in New York State has increased from $6.00 per hour to $6.75 per hour. For tipped restaurant workers, the minimum wage increases from $3.85 per hour to $4.35 an hour.

“All workers, no matter their immigration status, are entitled to basic employment rights to a fair wage under law,” says AALDEF staff attorney Steven Choi, who directs AALDEF’s Korean Workers Project. “Our experience has shown that many workers do not know about their right to a minimum wage, and especially the recent increases in the minimum wage in New York State. Employers must also do their part to comply with the law and publicize the change to their workers.”

Workers earning minimum wage should also expect an increase in their overtime pay, which under law is 1.5 times of ones hourly pay after 40 hours of work a week for most employees. In addition, workers who work more than 10 hours per day must also be paid $6.75 instead of $6.00 in spread-of-hours pay.

Next year, on January 1, 2007, the minimum wage will increase again to $7.15 an hour for most workers, and to $4.60 an hour for tipped restaurant employees. For more information about the minimum wage increase in New York State, please visit: the NYS Department of Labor Guidelines and the NYS Minimum Wage Act.

Since 1974, AALDEF has upheld the rights of immigrant workers and won millions of dollars in back wages and overtime for low-wage immigrant workers. In a series of federal court rulings, AALDEF has expanded the rights of Asian and Latino workers to hold employers responsible for labor law violations. By bringing suits against employers in the restaurant, hotel, construction, and domestic service industries, AALDEF has sent a clear message that Asian workers will no longer tolerate sweatshop conditions.