Workers of New York can now rest a little easier thanks to a new bill that raises the minimum wage in the state.
Last week, Governor Kathy Hochul signed several bills related to the recently unveiled FY 2024 New York State Budget – one of which would raise the minimum wage to $16 in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester as well as $15 elsewhere in the state. The bill also allows for additional minimum wage increases by $0.50 in the next two years, with future increases tied to inflation.
What does this mean for workers?
A higher minimum wage translates to better living standards for workers, which is helpful when the costs of living have spiked due to inflation. This issue becomes even more apparent in a region like New York City, one of the most expensive cities to live in the world.
According to a 2019 Congressional Budget Office report, a minimum wage of $15 by 2025 would result in a “significant” improvement in living standards for about 17 million Americans. It would also elevate approximately 1.3 million people from poverty.
Opposition to the bill
However, there has been some pushback to the raised minimum wage. Some critics claim that the increased minimum wage could harm smaller, family-run businesses. Others have voiced dissatisfaction with the bill because they wanted the minimum wage raised to as much as $20.
Right to fair pay
Regardless of the politics and debates behind the bill, the fact remains that New York’s minimum wage has increased. Workers are entitled to either the $7.25 per hour rate set by federal law or their state’s minimum, whichever is higher (in this case, New York’s). If you’re a worker and your employer has yet to implement the new minimum wage rules, you might want to tap the services of an employment law attorney to hold them accountable and ensure that you receive your rightful pay.