The New York State Wage Board has voted to increase the minimum wage for fast-food workers.

The decision came as the Governor used a loop hole to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour for fast food workers only.  The current minimum wage is $8.75 per hour.

The 3-person Wage Board, meeting on Wednesday afternoon in New York City, recommended that the new rate become effective by 2018 in New York City and by 2021 across the rest of the state.  The increases will be implemented in stages over the next 3 to 6 years.

Here's the proposed schedule of implementation:

  • $9.75 on Dec. 31, 2015
  •  $10.75 on Dec. 31, 2016
  •  $11.75 on Dec. 31, 2017
  •  $12.75 on Dec. 31, 2018
  •  $13.75 on Dec. 31, 2019
  •  $14.50 on Dec. 31, 2020
  •  $15 on July 1, 2021

The New York City schedule:

  • $10.50 Dec. 31, 2015
  • $12.00 Dec. 31 2016
  •  $13.50 Dec. 31, 2017
  •  $15 on Dec. 31, 2018

Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the increase and it lacked support in the legislature.  He then created the 3-person board to look into the issue and make a recommendation to the New York Wage Board which has the legal ability to make the increase in a specific sector of New York's work force.  The Governor and the board chose to focus on fast-food workers which make up a large portion of New York's minimum wage employees.  More than 180,000 people are employed by New York's fast food industry.

The move will increase salaries for only fast food employees.  A full-time worker will now make more than $30,000 per year, a more than 70% increase from minimum wage.

Opponents fear the increase is too large, too fast and will result in layoffs and higher prices.

The increase will affect chain restaurants that have more than 30 restaurants nationwide, including local owners who might have only one restaurant in a particular city or region.

The measure is expected to be approved by the Cuomo administration.  It will not require approval by the legislature.

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