The 2016–17 New York State budget, passed on April 1, will increase the statewide minimum wage from the current rate of $9 per hour to $15 per hour by 2022. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and labor groups worked together in favor of the minimum wage increase. However, unlike the governor’s initial plan to have the wage increase go into effect on the same schedule throughout the state, the approved wage increase phases in on different schedules for different regions:
- For workers in New York City employed by large businesses (those with at least 11 employees), the minimum wage will rise to $11 per hour at the end of 2016; it will then increase by $2 per hour each year until it reaches $15 per hour on January 31, 2018.
- For workers in New York City employed by small businesses (those with 10 employees or fewer), the minimum wage will rise to $10.50 per hour by the end of 2016; it will then increase by $1.50 per hour each year until it reaches $15 per hour on January 31, 2019.
- For workers in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, the minimum wage will increase to $10 per hour at the end of 2016; it will then increase by $1 per hour each year until it reaches $15 on December 31, 2021.
- For workers in the rest of the state, the minimum wage will increase to $9.70 per hour at the end of 2016; it will then increase by 70 cents per hour each year until it reaches $12.50 per hour on December 31, 2020. After that date, it will continue to increase to $15 on an indexed schedule to be set by the New York State Director of the Division of Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor.
With the minimum wage increase set to start phasing in at the end of this year, ABA CEO Oren Teicher noted that “a successful transition to the $15 per hour wage will only happen if the governor supports the state’s Main Street retailers and small businesses, which will be bearing the brunt of these wage increases.”
Teicher said there are a number of actions that the state can take to help small businesses afford the increased minimum wage, including providing tax or other incentives for landlords to rent space to local retailers or reducing fees and/or taxes for indie retailers to help them pay employees a higher wage. But, he stressed, ignoring how the minimum wage increase will affect small businesses could result in store closures and job losses.