New York's minimum wage will increase in the new year
New York's minimum wage will increase on Jan. 1, 2024, depending on where you work in the state.
The hourly rate will go from $15 to $16 in New York City, Westchester and Long Island. It will also increase from $14.20 to $15 across the rest of the state.
Supporters of the increase hope this will help New Yorkers afford the rising cost of living and ultimately put that money back into the local economy as a consumer.
"It's beneficial for the minimum wage to go up just so everyone can live comfortably," said Yonkers resident Darryl Mack.
A $16 hourly wage at a full 40 hours a week is only $640 weekly or $33,280 for the year before taxes. Mack, whose 14-year-old son will enter the workforce in the next few years, would like to see it at $20.
Others like Robin Odze, who is retired but picks up shifts at Costco and makes minimum wage, said it would help her coworkers out tremendously.
"It's great because many people have to get food stamps and live off the system because they don't make enough," said Yonkers resident Robin Odze.
Many argued the new year's increase is a positive step but far off from a livable wage.
Last year, state lawmakers led by Queens State Sen.Jessica Ramos attempted to pass the Raise the Wage Act which would have raised the minimum wage in NYC and the suburbs to $21.25 an hour and upstate to $20 an hour by 2026.
State Sens. Jamaal Bailey, Nathalia Fernandez, Pete Harckham,and Shelley Mayer all cosponsored the bill that ultimately fell short.
Yonkers City Councilman and Yonkers Brewing Company owner John Rubbo said businesses, especially small ones, must strike a delicate balance.
On one hand, he already pays above the soon-to-be $16 minimum wage and knows that's not enough.
"All employees, full-time employees deserve to make an honest wage, a livable wage, and here in New York how do you live on $16 an hour?" he said.
Rubbo said when you factor in all the additional costs to employ someone a $16 hourly salary costs the business owner closer to $20 an hour. This means unfortunately, business owners will have to find a way to offset the increased payroll.
"Maybe they'll reduce their labor, or how can they pass that on to the consumer," said Rubbo.
The newly established rates will continue to increase 50 cents in 2025 and 2026 statewide.
In 2027, the rate will increase annually based on inflation determined by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the Northeast Region.