Statewide Increase Marks the Start of Gradual Raises
As the United States ushered in the new year, New York saw a statewide increase in its minimum wage. At the stroke of midnight, minimum wage workers across the Empire State received a raise of between 80 cents to a dollar. This raise is the first in a series of gradual increases that are expected to unfold in the coming years.
New York City and Suburbs See Minimum Wage Bump
Workers in New York City and its surrounding suburbs experienced an increase in their minimum wage from $15 to $16. For the rest of the state, the minimum wage rose from $14.20 to $15. These wage hikes will continue annually until minimum wage employees in New York City are paid $17, while the rest of the state reaches $16. The process is anticipated to conclude by 2026.
Concerns Arise Among Business Owners
However, the wage increase plan has faced criticism from some business owners who argue that the rising minimum wage could potentially push some businesses under. Nonetheless, Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul collaborated with the New York state legislature to implement the wage increase, aiming to address income disparities and uplift low-wage workers.
California Pizza Hut Franchises Announce Layoffs
Meanwhile, in California, reports have emerged stating that certain Pizza Hut franchises are planning to lay off delivery drivers ahead of the state’s new $20 minimum wage. These layoffs are seen as a response to the increased labor costs that businesses will face due to the higher minimum wage.
Fluctuations Tied to Consumer Price Index
In addition to the gradual raises, future minimum wage increases in New York will be tied to the fluctuations of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. This measure aims to ensure that wages keep up with inflation and maintain a livable income for workers.
It is worth noting that Washington currently holds the highest statewide minimum wage at $16.28, closely followed by California at $16.
While the minimum wage increase has been deemed insufficient by some Democrats to the left of Governor Hochul, it represents a step towards addressing income inequality and providing better livelihoods for minimum wage workers in the state.