Cuomo creates new team to focus on minimum wage law

Emily Ngo

A 200-member team of investigators has been assembled to help ensure businesses across the state comply with the new minimum wage law that took effect Saturday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his top aides announced Monday in Manhattan.

The Multiagency Enforcement and Outreach Unit will hold employers accountable by notifying employees of their rights, collecting their complaints and conducting investigations, Cuomo said.

New York State is moving in phases toward a $15 minimum wage statewide — a plan Cuomo signed into law last April.

“One thing I want to make clear, this is not a voluntary effort,” the Democratic governor told reporters at his midtown offices. “This is the law. And if a business does not follow the law, they can be subject to significant monetary penalties and they can also be subject to criminal penalties if it is egregious.”

For New York City workers in businesses with at least 11 employees, the minimum wage rose to $11 per hour on Saturday — as the state rang in the new year — and eventually will reach $15 at the end of 2018.

In Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, the minimum wage increased to $10 an hour on Saturday. It will be hiked by $1 per year until it reaches $15 at the end of 2021.

The 200 members of Cuomo’s new task force include staffers from the state’s labor, taxation and state departments and the Workers’ Compensation Board.

The governor also urged workers to call the labor department hotline — 888-4NYSDOL — or visit to help make sure “they receive a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.”