Governor raises minimum wage for state employees to $15

Posted 10 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Press Release, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office

ALBANY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his administration is raising the minimum wage for state workers to $15 an hour.

To date, no other state has enacted a $15 public sector minimum wage. This groundbreaking action comes as the governor is pushing to make New York the first state in the nation to implement a $15 minimum wage across all industries, and follows the $15 minimum wage increase for fast food workers approved by the Cuomo administration earlier this year.

“I believe that if you work hard and work full time, you should not be condemned to live in poverty. Yet millions of families nationwide continue to be left behind by an insufficient minimum wage – and it’s time that changed,” Cuomo said. “Today in New York, we are leading by example and creating an economy that is defined by opportunity, not inequality. We are restoring the fairness and economic justice that built the American dream and standing up for what’s right. I am proud of what we continue to accomplish, because New Yorkers deserve nothing less.”

Approximately 10,000 state employees will be benefited by the governor’s action, including those in all Executive Agencies, the Legislature, the Judiciary, and the independently elected agencies of the Department of Law and the Office of State Comptroller. Approximately 9,000 employees are outside of New York City, and 1,000 within New York City.

This change will be reflected in the State’s Budget Policy and Reporting Manual. When fully phased in on July 1, 2021, this wage increase has an annual projected cost of roughly $20.6 million, including the anticipated effect of fringe benefits.

This increase, which was announced by the Governor at a rally for low-wage workers in New York City, will be implemented on the same phased-in schedule currently underway for fast food workers.

That schedule for New York City includes a $10.50 minimum beginning Dec. 31, 2015; then $12 the following year; then $13.50 on Dec. 31, 2017; and then $15 on Dec. 31, 2018.

Outside New York City, the minimum for fast food workers increases to $9.75 on Dec. 31; then $10.75 on Dec. 31, 2016; $11.75 on Dec. 31, 2017; $12.75 on Dec. 31, 2018; $13.75 to Dec. 31, 2019; $14.50 to Dec. 31, 2020; and $15 on Dec. 31, 2021.

In 2013, Cuomo signed legislation that raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to its current level of $8.75. That legislation included another incremental increase to $9 that will take effect by the end of 2015.

Additionally, the State Department of Labor empaneled a wage board last July focusing on tipped workers. The governor’s administration ultimately accepted that wage board’s recommendations, setting the stage for an increase in wages for tipped workers from $4.90, $5.00 and $5.65 to $7.50 per hour on December 31, 2015.

Most recently, the governor directed the Department of Labor to empanel a wage board to investigate and make recommendations on an increase in the minimum wage in the fast food industry.

Earlier this year, then-Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino accepted those recommendations and signed the official order setting in motion the phased increase toward $15 per hour described above. An estimated 200,000 fast food workers are expected to benefit from this increase.

In total, more than 2.3 million New Yorkers (roughly 1,435,500 workers living outside of New York City and 927,400 living within New York City) will be directly benefitted by the governor’s proposal to increase the minimum wage for workers in all industries to $15 per hour.