ALBANY – New York will increase the minimum wage to $13.20 an hour starting Dec. 31 to coincidence with an increase to $15 an hour on Long Island and Westchester County, the state announced Monday.
The state Department of Labor had authority under state law this year to raise the minimum wage above its current rate of $12.50 an hour outside New York City and its immediate suburbs.
The agency said the increase is the result of “evidence of pressure for wages to rise in the midst of a pandemic-driven labor shortage.”
The minimum wage was already set to rise Dec. 31 from $14 an hour to 15 per hour on Long Island and in Westchester.
But the increase in the rest of the state is new after the state Legislature passed a scale in 2016 to increase the minimum wage over the next five years, first hitting $15 an hour in New York City at the end of 2018 for large employers.
Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon noted that many employers were already paying above the minimum wage due to the labor shortage in New York and the nation.
“It makes sense to raise the wage floor now and continue supporting New York’s families while providing a predictable path forward for businesses,” Reardon said in a statement
“With today’s action we are continuing the work of building back with equity and justice.”
The state Division of the Budget was required to review the economy and decide whether New York should increase the minimum wage on Dec. 31 across parts of the Hudson Valley and upstate.
The review found that the low-wage sector was the most severely impacted by the pandemic.
The state said 1 million jobs, or 57% of the private sector losses, were impacted in the three industries where minimum wage workers are most concentrated: retail, health care and hospitality.
The labor department said further increases past 2022 would be based the state annual review of the economy.
More:These tipped workers in NY will get a full minimum wage. Why wait staff isn’t among them.
More:New York businesses face higher unemployment taxes due to COVID-19. Here’s how much
Joseph Spector is the Government and Politics Editor for the USA TODAY Network’s Atlantic Group, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at JSPECTOR@Gannett.com or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
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