Restaurant Law Blog

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Restaurant Owners Will Pay Additional “Spread of Hours” Pay as Minimum Wage Increases

Have you heard of “Spread of Hours” pay? It is a law unique to New York and greatly affects the restaurant industry, but it is not well-known. Recently, employees of the chain restaurant Planet Wings sued their employer for failing to comply with the spread of hours mandate imposed by New York law. You, too, could be liable to certain employees who meet hour requirements.

“Spread of hours” pay is an extra hour of pay that must be paid to employees when an employee’s workday is “spread” over 10 hours. For example, if a waiter works a morning shift from 10am – 3pm and then returns later in the day to work an evening shift from 6pm – 10pm, he has worked a total of 9 hours “spread” over a 12 hour period and would be entitled to an additional hour of pay at the minimum wage. This additional hour of pay is not for work performed.

Courts have found that the spread of hours requirement does not apply to employees in certain industries whose total weekly compensation is above the minimum wage.  However, in the hospitality industry spread of hours pay must be paid to employees who meet the requirements regardless of how much money the employee makes.

In any event, the upcoming increase in the state’s minimum wage will affect all employers responsible for spread of hours pay. In the hospitality industry, the additional hour of pay will increase with the minimum wage, and in other eligible industries, more employees will now be eligible to receive spread of hours pay.

If you have questions or concerns about the “spread of hours” requirement, contact DiPasquale Law Group for a free consultation.


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