Upstate Minimum Wage Increasing Later This Month

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ALBANY – The minimum wage in Upstate New York’s will increase to $12.50 an hour on December 31.

The State’s Department of Labor announced on Wednesday the raise is part of the minimum wage phase in taking place across the state.

The phase in was announced after a report by the Division of the Budget found the Upstate’s labor market is amongst those leading New York’s economic recovery from the downturn caused by the global pandemic.

Other findings in the report include:

  • Just prior to the pandemic, the State achieved a record low unemployment rate of 3.7% while raising the minimum wage for four years.
  • The Long Island/Westchester county regional unemployment rate has fallen from its April peak of 15.9 percent to 7.1 percent in October, while the remainder of Upstate has fallen from its 15.4 percent April peak to 6.8 percent in October.
  • According the December edition of the Federal Reserve Beige Book, as employment rebounds Upstate, an employment agency observed: “scattered signs of a pickup in hiring, especially for lower-wage workers” and “particular difficulty in recruiting customer-service representatives.” The agency also noted “a particular upward trend in wages at the lower end of the pay scale.”
  • The report concludes: close examination of the available economic data by region suggests that the labor market recoveries on Long Island and in Westchester and the remainder of Upstate are proceeding apace and are not likely to be substantially harmed by the minimum wage increases scheduled for the end of this year

The minimum wage in New York City is set to increase to $15 an hour for companies with 10 or fewer employees. Companies with more than 10 employees have had to pay $15 an hour since the end of 2018.

Long Island & Westchester’s minimum wage will increase to $14 an hour, and is scheduled to increase to $15 an hour on December 31, 2021.

No further increases for the rest of New York State are currently scheduled. Future increases will be based on an indexed schedule to be set by the Director of the Division of the Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor following an annual review of the impact.

Last week some lawmakers, including local Senator George Borrello, called on the Governor to hold off on rising the state’s minimum wage in an effort to help businesses already struggling due to COVID-19.


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