April 3, 2016
The New York State legislature announced on Friday, April 1st, that they passed legislation to increase the Minimum wage in the state to 15 dollars an hour, from its current level of 9 dollars per hour. The legislation was a compromise between democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and republican lawmakers in which both parties can claim a victory. In a bow to the republican legislators the increase to a $15 minimum wage will be a slower incremental rise than the Governor had wanted. The timing of the wage increases will be different based on different geographic regions in the state. New York City, Long Island and Westchester, and all other upstate counties will be following different timelines on the way to $15.
In New York City, the minimum wage will rise to 15 dollars per hour by late 2018. The counties of Nassau and Suffolk (Long Island) and Westchester will have to wait until 2021 until the rate reaches $15. The rest of the state (all areas north of Westchester County) will see a .70 raise annually through 2020 when the rate will be $12.50. A fail-safe mechanism will be implemented in 2019, when an economic assessment will determine the effects of the rate increase on the economy of the upstate region. The Governor and legislature will then determine the schedule of the increase to the $15 minimum wage target after reviewing this assessment. Governor Cuomo has said he will sign this legislation into law.