NYSRA Navigates Minimum Wage Increasing, Scaffolding Reform, ABC

NYSRA surcharge structure tariffs small business

NYS Restaurant Association Holds Workshop to Help Members Navigate the Rising Minimum Wage

The NYS Restaurant Association, the only statewide Association serving the restaurant industry in New York, recently held a workshop at its New York City location, geared towards providing information and helpful tips so restaurants can successfully navigate this upcoming increase in labor costs. With the minimum wage increasing to $13.00 an hour on December 31, 2017, the Association thought it was imperative to educate the industry on this unprecedented rise.

The event was well attended and featured an expert panel that examined the issue from all sides. NYS Restaurant Association’s Director of Government Affairs, Kevin Dugan, was on hand to provide context to why the increase will happen. Additionally, he covered the steps the Association took to help mitigate this increase. For example, the Association successfully fought to maintain the tip credit for those employees who receive tips.

Guy Alessandro, Managing Member of accounting firm Alessandro & Associates, talked to the assembled group about how they can look to lower costs internally to ensure that they are maintaining optimum profitability without compromising service. Alessandro also provided a number of helpful worksheets that members were encouraged to utilize to fully calculate what this increase may mean to their bottom line. Jackson Lewis Attorney, Felice Ekelman, rounded out the panel to discuss the many legal implications that come with any wage increase. She discussed best practices to remain compliant. Ekelman also focused on employee designations, something that trips up many managers and owners when looking at which of their staff members can be classified as exempt.

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In addition to discussing the minimum wage increase, the group also walked through the new paid family leave law in New York State to ensure that members are taking the needed steps to prepare.

The meeting was sold out! Ron Mathews, the new Regional Director for the Association in New York City, mentioned that this event is the first of many educational seminars that will be held in the coming months for NYS Restaurant Association members.

NY State Liquor Authority Chairman Highlights Top ABC Violations at Annual Meeting

One of the many highlights of this year’s NYS Restaurant Associations 82nd Annual Meeting at the Mohonk Mountain House was the presentation by State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley. Chairman Bradley addressed the group and attendees were able to ask him pressing questions to ensure restaurant compliance. To this end, Chairman Bradley identified a couple of top violations to the New York Alcoholic Beverage Control law that he often comes across:

• Serving of Minors – Chairman Bradley emphasized that this was the most common violation. He noted that Governor Andrew Cuomo has particularly emphasized this issue for the coming year. The Governor’s office is cracking down on underage drinking in college towns and on college campuses and will be working with local authorities and the State Department of Motor Vehicles to  conduct periodic searches of establishments holding a liquor license, as well as in grocery stores and liquor stores, to ensure they are not serving minors.

• Properly identifying the type of establishment – Chairman Bradley stated that many bars and restaurants do not always identify themselves in the proper way. For example, a bar or restaurant that may want to have live music and dancing while serving alcohol cannot do so unless it goes back to the liquor authority and makes a change to their license. This is a common reason for citation.

Chairman Bradley ended by championing the Association’s work. He looks forward to working with the trade group going forward. Getting one on one guidance directly from a state agency was a unique and special opportunity for the members in attendance.

NYSRA Testifies in Support of Scaffolding Reform

On October 25, the New York City Council held a hearing on scaffolding reform. If adopted this law would be a huge win for the restaurant industry. For too long, landlords and scaffolding companies have been able to erect elaborate outdoor structures and leave them up with little regard to the businesses that may call that particular building home.

This bill aims to change that and would put stringent protections in place to ensure that once the work is completed the scaffolding is quickly taken down.

More specifically this bill would:

  • Not allow for work to stop for more than 7 days without allowance from the city otherwise the scaffolding company could face serious fines;
  • Allow for a maximum of 90 days for building owners to use scaffolding for repairs;
  • Permit the building owners to file for a single 90 day extension if the work is not completed in the original time frame and;
  • After a 180 day period, if the work is not yet completed, the city would step in to complete the project and bill the building owner directly.

The NYS Restaurant Association government affairs team is a strong proponent of this proposed legislation and has written a number of letters to City Council officials urging them to support this bill. Chief sponsor, Councilman Ben Kallos, came and addressed the NYC Chapter Board on the topic earlier this year.

We continue to urge our members to send letters on the need for scaffolding reform to their city representatives! If you would like to send a letter advocating for this much needed legislation email our Government Affairs Director Kevin Dugan (kevin@nysra.org) or for more information visit our website at www.nysra.org.