NY Governor raises minimum wage for state workers to $15 by 2021

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on November 10 announced that his administration is raising the minimum wage for state workers to $15 an hour. According to Governor Cuomo, to date, no other state has enacted a $15 public sector minimum wage. The Governor is also pushing to make New York the first state in the nation to implement a $15 minimum wage across all industries, and follows the $15 minimum wage increase for fast food workers approved by the Governor’s administration earlier this year.

Approximately 10,000 state employees will be benefited by the Governor’s action, including those in all Executive Agencies, the Legislature, the Judiciary, and the independently elected agencies of the Department of Law and the Office of State Comptroller. Approximately 9,000 employees are outside of New York City, and 1,000 within New York City.

This change will be reflected in the State’s Budget Policy and Reporting Manual. When fully phased in on July 1, 2021, this wage increase has an annual projected cost of roughly $20.6 million, including the anticipated effect of fringe benefits.

This increase, which was announced by the Governor at a rally for low-wage workers in New York City, will be implemented on the same phased-in schedule currently underway for fast food workers. That schedule is as follows:

New York City: $10.50, on December 31, 2015; $12.00 on December 31, 2016; $13.50 on December 31, 2017; $15.00 on December 31, 2018.

Statewide (excluding New York City): $9.75 on December 31, 2015; $10.75 on December 31, 2016; $11.75 on December 31, 2017; $12.75 on December 31, 2018; $13.75 on December 31, 2019; $14.50 on December 31, 2020; and $15.00 on July 1, 2021.

In 2013, the Governor signed legislation that raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to its current level of $8.75. That legislation included another incremental increase to $9.00 that will take effect by the end of 2015. Additionally, the State Department of Labor empaneled a wage board last July focusing on tipped workers. The Governor’s administration ultimately accepted that wage board’s recommendations, setting the stage for an increase in wages for tipped workers from $4.90, $5.00 and $5.65 to $7.50 per hour on December 31, 2015.

Most recently, the Governor directed the Department of Labor to empanel a wage board to investigate and make recommendations on an increase in the minimum wage in the fast food industry. Earlier this year, then-Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino accepted those recommendations and signed the official order setting in motion the phased increase toward $15 per hour described above. An estimated 200,000 fast food workers are expected to benefit from this increase.

In total, more than 2.3 million New Yorkers (roughly 1,435,500 workers living outside of New York City and 927,400 living within New York City) will be directly benefitted by the Governor’s proposal to increase the minimum wage for workers in all industries to $15 per hour. (New York State Office of the Governor, Press Release, November 10, 2015, http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-raises-minimum-wage-state-workers-15-hour-making-new-york-first-nation-enact-15.)

Visit our News Library to read more news stories.