NY: New Wage and Leave Policy

wage-increaseIn a somewhat radical move for legalized wage modifications, New York is making an impact. Its recently-accepted wage and leave policy will be having a big effect, in particular, on the state’s hospitality industry.  This wage increase was announced mere hours after California one was announced, which was indeed the very first state in America to approve a $15 minimum wage.

The flip side of this is – according to restaurant owners/managers – menu prices will have to increase. However, the new policy has been hailed as “a spectacular victory for the national labor rights movement, which has been buoyed by striking fast food workers who first called for a $15 wage in 2012.”  It’s time. And now it’s happened.

Around 50% of US states have been gradually increasing minimum wage from $7.25 but only California (and now New York) have reached the $15 mark. Others are considering it, such as Washington DC which went up to $11.50, might make the additional hike too.

The New York minimum wage increase was approved by a 26 to 12 vote in the Senate on 31 March. Just before they voted, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León stated: “At its core, this proposal is about fairness.” Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas echoed this sentiment by arguing: “This is an argument about economic justice. Justice is not something that can be negotiated or compromised.”

In practical terms, this is how it will work: any NYC company with at least 11 staff members will get an increase to $11 by the end of this year and then a further $2 every year until it gets to $15 (by 2018). Companies that have 10 or less members of staff will be given until 2020 to get to $15. And then for the rest of the state (which includes the wealthier suburbs), they will be subject to a slower increase pace.

In addition to the wage increase, it is hoped that the 12 week paid leave parental plan will become law.