NY wage deal would undershoot $15–maybe

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New York officials have reportedly reached a deal to raise the state’s minimum hourly wage for workers outside of New York City to $12.50 by 2012, at which point the economic effects would be studied.

If the increases were not deemed detrimental to job and economic growth, the minimum wage would be tied to the rate of inflation until it reaches $15 an hour.

Restaurant workers in New York City would have their wages raised to $15 by 2019 if they work for establishments with more than 10 employees. Places with that small of a payroll would have an additional year to reach the $15 mark. Proponents of the higher urban rate say it is necessary because the cost of living in the city is so much higher than it is elsewhere in the state.

The unusual approach left open the possibility that Governor Andrew Cuomo would prevail in his efforts to hike the pay floor to $15 an hour, but not as quickly as he’d proposed. The Democrat had favored hitting the threshold for all workers by 2021. The legal wage for chain fast-food workers in the state is already climbing toward $15 an hour as the result of the exercise last year of an unusual executive privilege.

Legislators have cautioned that party leaders have yet to formally endorse the plan currently on the table, and were in and out of meetings on the matter all day.

Cuomo has made no secret of his determination to make New York the first state to have a $15 wage. But he is being squeezed on two fronts in his effort to deliver on that hope. New York’s budget expires tonight at midnight, and the government has not missed the deadline for a new financial plan in each of the last five years, a signature of Cuomo’s administration.

In addition, California’s Assembly approved a plan to raise its state’s minimum wages in steps to $15 by 2022. The measure is expected to pass easily in the state Senate, and Governor Jerry Brown said last week that he would sign it into law.

Check back with Restaurant Business Online through this afternoon and evening for updates on the minimum wages for each state.


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