Minimum wage rises to $15 in Westchester as businesses continue to face staff shortages

Some business owners say the hike is the least of their concerns - it's finding workers.

News 12 Staff

Dec 30, 2021, 10:51 PM

Updated 933 days ago


A record number of states are hiking up their minimum wage, including New York.
Beginning Friday, Westchester will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The minimum wage is also going up for the rest of the state, but to a much lower rate of $13.20 an hour. New York City has already raised the minimum wage to $15.
Some business owners say the hike is the least of their concerns - it's finding workers.
At Buff City Soap in Rye Brook, owner Spencer Hart is confident his new business that offers handmade, plant-based soaps will succeed despite the pandemic.
But his businesses success also depends on the employees he hires, which is why starting pay is $15 an hour. On Friday, it will become the official minimum wage for all of Westchester County and Long Island.
"I think $15 is fair. I know it's gone up a lot of the last couple of years, but prices have been going up as well," he says.
The wage hike was supposed to take effect last year along with New York City but was delayed to allow businesses more time to adjust.
Many business owners say raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour isn't an issue, it's hiring staff.
Help wanted signs indicate the shortage of workers caused by the pandemic isn't over.
John Ravitz, with the Business Council of Westchester, says many businesses are already offering more than $15 an hour in hopes of attracting workers," says Ravitz. "It's getting competent people they need into their places of businesses, so I think that's the No. 1 priority."
Spencer says he has a leg up when it comes hiring.
"It's a fun place to work," he says.
It's a perk he hopes helps him retain employees and grow the business.

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