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How well do you understand New York's minimum wage increase?

History was made this past April when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill putting New York on the path toward a $15 per hour minimum wage, a move that served to brand the Empire State one of the best places in the nation for those looking to earn a living.

While most people are indeed aware of our state's move to a $15 per hour minimum wage from the current $9 per hour minimum wage, they may be somewhat unfamiliar with the specifics of the new law, such that they may mistakenly imagine that this $6 per hour pay bump will be in effect as soon as next year.

In recognition of this reality, today's post will take a closer look at the specifics of the state's minimum wage increase in order to help clarify any misunderstanding and provide people with a better understand of the road ahead.

Here in New York City, those employers classified as "big," meaning 11 or more employees, will see the minimum wage increase to:

  • $11 per hour on December 31, 2016
  • $13 per hour on December 31, 2017
  • $15 per hour on December 31, 2018

As for "small" employers, meaning those NYC employers with ten or fewer employees, they will see the minimum wage increase to:

  • $10.50 per hour on December 31, 2016
  • $12 per hour on December 31, 2017
  • $13.50 per hour on December 31, 2018
  • $15 per hour on December 31, 2019          

Interestingly, employers in the commuter counties of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester will see the minimum wage increase to:

  • $10 per hour on December 31, 2016
  • $11 per hour on December 31, 2017
  • $12 per hour on December 31, 2018
  • $13 per hour on December 31, 2019
  • $14 per hour on December 31, 2020
  • $15 per hour on December 31, 2021

As for the rest of the state, the raise will be rolled out on a more conservative timetable, such that employers will see the minimum wage increase to:

  • $9.70 per hour on December 31, 2016
  • $10.40 per hour on December 31, 2017
  • $11.10 per hour on December 31, 2018
  • $12.50 per hour on December 31, 2019

From 2020 onward, the minimum wage for the remainder of the state will continue to rise toward $15 per hour, but at a rate determined by the Department of Labor that is indexed to wage growth and inflation.              

It's worth noting that the state law authorizing the move toward a $15 per minimum wage included a so-called safety value dictating that budget officials will begin examining the economic impact of the wage hikes on a regional basis and determine whether they should continue starting in 2019.

Here's hoping the forgoing discussion provided some valuable insight on what the future holds and that it will provide a solid foundation on which to base future discussions about employee rights as they relate to minimum wage.

If you have concerns that your employer is failing to pay you the amount owed, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options.

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