Laura Berlinsky-Schine
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On December 31, 2018, New York residents saw an increase in the state’s minimum wage. Currently, the minimum wage is at $15.00 for people who work for New York City employers with 11 or more employees, $13.50 for people who work for New York City employers with 10 or fewer employees, $12.00 for workers with Long Island and Westchester employers, and $11.80 for the remainder of the state.

As part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $15.00 minimum-wage plan, the minimum hourly wage will continue to climb every year until it peaks at $15.00. As of this year, many New York City residents are already there.

Location

12/31/16

12/31/17

12/31/18

12/31/19

12/31/20

2021

NYC - Large Employers (of 11 or more)

$11.00

$13.00

$15.00




NYC - Small Employers (10 or less)

$10.50

$12.00

$13.50

$15.00



Long Island & Westchester

$10.00

$11.00

$12.00

$13.00

$14.00

$15.00

Remainder of New York State

$9.70

$10.40

$11.10

$11.80

$12.50


Source: New York State Department of Labor

What else do you need to know about the minimum wage in New York? Here’s our rundown.

Minimum Wage for Different Types of Workers

There are different rules and structures for employees working in some specific industries or positions. Examples include:

• Workers who receive tips

The minimum wage varies according to the size and location of the employer. Employers must pay employees at least minimum wage if tips do not constitute enough for the workers to receive minimum wage.

• App-based drivers

As of December 31, 2019, app-based drivers on platforms such as Uber, Lyft, Via, and Juno must earn at least $26.51 per hour (gross pay).

Visit the New York State’s Department of Labor website for more details about the minimum wage rate within different industries or occupations. 

Federal Minimum Wage vs. New York Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in New York is considerably higher than the Federal minimum wage of $7.25. This rate has been in effect since 2009.

It is important to note that Federal minimum wage laws negate state laws that dictate a lower rate than the Federal minimum. In other words, employees are entitled to the rate that is higher between state and Federal standards. The rate is determined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and dictates that employees within the United States must be paid at least this hourly wage in both private and public sectors. 

As of January 1, 2018, Executive Order 13658 established that workers performing work related to covered federal contracts must earn a minimum wage rate of at least 410,35 per hour.

New York’s Minimum Wage History

Prior to 1960, state minimum wage rates varied from industry to industry.

October 1, 1960

Newly established general minimum wage set at $1.00

October 15, 1962

Increased from $1.00 to $1.15

October 15, 1964

Increased from $1.15 to $1.25

January 1, 1967

Increased from $1.25 to $1.50

February 1, 1968

Increased from $1.50 to $1.60

July 1, 1970

Increased from $1.60 to $1.85

May 1, 1974

Increased from $1.85 to $2.00

January 1, 1975

Increased from $2.00 to $2.10

January 1, 1976

Increased from $2.10 to $2.30

October 6, 1978

Increased from $2.30 to $2.65

January 1, 1979

Increased from $2.65 to $2.90

January 1, 1980

Increased from $2.90 to $3.10

January 1, 1981

Increased from $3.10 to $3.35

April 1, 1990

Increased from $3.35 to $3.80

April 1, 1991

Increased from $3.80 to $4.25

March 31, 2000

Increased from $4.25 to $5.15

January 1, 2005

Increased from $5.15 to $6.00

January 1, 2006

Increased from $6.00 to $6.75

January 1, 2007

Increased from $6.75 to $7.15

July 24, 2009

Increased from $7.15 to $7.25

December 31, 2013

Increased from $7.25 to $8.00

December 31, 2014

Increased from $8.00 to $8.75

December 31, 2015

Increased from $8.75 to $9.00

December 31, 2016

Increased from $9.00 to $9.70

December 31, 2017

Increased from $9.70 to $10.40

December 31, 2018

Increased from $10.40 to $11.10


Source: New York State Department of Labor

Before October 1, 1960, minimum wage depended on the industry. On that date, the first statewide minimum wage was established at $1.00 per hour. This was the same as the Federal minimum wage at that time, although the latter rate would rise to $1.15 the following year. Originally, the Federal minimum wage was established at $0.25 in 1938.

The chart above shows when and by how much New York’s minimum wage increased over the past nearly six decades.

Controversy and News

When Governor Cuomo signed the $15 minimum-wage plan into effect in 2016, the law had both advocates and critics. Proponents of the minimum-wage increase argue that costs of necessities such as health care, housing, education, and more are climbing, and workers’ earnings need to reflect and keep up with this reality.

Opponents say that establishing a higher minimum wage will require employers to increase the prices of goods and services, as well as reduce workers’ hours. A study of Seattle’s 2015 minimum wage increase to $13 per hour conducted by the University of Washington and the National Bureau of Economic Research initially found that the increase would lead to employment loss rather than gain, due to cuts in hours; however, an update demonstrated that there was no “significant decline” in the number of hours minimum-wage employees were working.

Opponents also suggest that states with higher minimum wages like New York could face unfair financial competition from states with lower minimums because the latter category is able to keep prices of goods and services lower due to paying workers less.

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