Minimum wage increasing to $13 for New Yorkers in new year
ALBANY — New Yorkers who work minimum-wage jobs are getting a holiday treat Sunday in the form of a pay raise.
Thanks to legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Cuomo in 2016, the minimum wage for most city workers will increase from $11 an hour to $13 an hour. For workers in businesses with 10 or fewer employees, the minimum hourly wage will rise from $10.50 to $12.
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The increases are part of a series of incremental raises called for under the legislation that will bring the minimum wage to $15 an hour across the state within the next several years. Minimum-wage workers in the suburbs and upstate will also see pay increases starting on Sunday.
“I am ecstatic,” said Toni Thompson, 64, a fast-food worker from Brooklyn. “This raise is very much needed.”
Under the wage legislation, city workers at large firms will be the first to reach a $15 minimum hourly wage, starting on Dec. 31, 2018. A year later, city workers at businesses with 10 or fewer workers will reach that goal.
Long Island and Westchester workers will get a $15 minimum wage by Dec. 31, 2021, while those in the rest of the state must await a timetable still to be determined by the state Budget Division.
The minimum-wage increases are among a handful of changes to state law that go into effect during the New Year’s weekend that impact workers and taxpayers across the state.
One change, which was enacted as part of the same legislative compromise that yielded the minimum-wage hike, will give middle-class taxpayers a break in their state income taxes.
Starting in 2018, families making between $43,000 and $161,549 and individuals making between $21,400 and $80,649, will see their state tax rate drop from 6.45% to 6.33%.
Families earning between $161,550 and $323,200, and individuals earning between $80,650 and $215,399 will see their tax rate drop from 6.65% to 6.57%.
Also taking effect on Jan. 1 is the state’s new paid family-leave law, which guarantees workers paid time off after the birth of a child or to care for a close relative or domestic partner suffering through a health condition. Employees with a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent serving in the military abroad also qualify for time off.
Under the policy, all full-time employees with a regular schedule of 20 or more hours a week will be eligible for up to eight weeks of paid leave at a wage equal to 50% of their average weekly pay or 50% of the state’s average weekly wage, whichever is lower.
To finance the program, workers will be required to contribute 0.126% of their weekly pay or 0.126% of the state’s average weekly wage, whichever is lower.
“We believe no one should ever have to choose between financial security and bonding with a new child or caring for a sick family member,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said in a statement Friday heralding the new family-leave policy and minimum wage. “We also believe that no one who works full-time should struggle to make ends meet. These changes will help ensure that every New Yorker can put their own family first.”
Business groups, however, said the new wage and leave policies will further erode New York’s economic competitiveness.
Mike Durant, the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, called the new policies a “blatant assault” on small businesses.
“Any economic resurgence in New York will rely on small-business growth and this onslaught of costly labor costs makes that extremely unlikely,” Durant said.