How does the NYS minimum wage increase affect businesses in the Southern Tier?

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — The New York State minimum wage is once again on the rise in Upstate New York, as the state continues to inch closer toward $15 per hour. The next phase will take place on December 31, 2021, where wages will increase by $0.70.

According to the DOL, this next phase will require the minimum wage to be increased to $15 per hour on Long Island and Westchester, matching the minimum wage already set in New York City. All other areas will be required to raise the minimum wage to $13.20 per hour based on economic factors and indices.

Some economists say now is not the right time to increase wages because of the state of the United States economy.

“Minimum wage increase now is inflationary,” Dr. Martin Cantor told 18 News.

Below is the general minimum wage scheduled for New York State.

NYC- 11 or more employees$11.00$13.00$15.00$15.00$15.00$15.00
NYC- 10 or fewer employees$10.50$12.00$13.50$15.00$15.00$15.00
Long Island and 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$13.20

In 2016, the state decided to increase wages after workers were making less than $10 per hour. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer prices are increasing while confidence decreases.

“More dollars will chase too few goods and that’s going to increase the prices of goods and services,” Dr. Cantor added.

Employers will be charged more per hour and per employee during an economic climate that is still recovering. This could mean fewer job opportunities and more people seeking unemployment benefits. Some local employers think this change is positive.

“I believe that everyone deserves to be paid a living wage. Owning a business is all about adaptation and growth. We can’t ever do that alone,” Jenna Letersky Thayer of Nickel’s Pit BBQ said.

This announcement follows a required report by the Division of the Budget, which found evidence of pressure for wages to rise in the midst of the ongoing labor shortage.

Findings from the Division of the Budget’s Minimum Wage Report included that the low-wage sector was the most impacted by the pandemic. The report stated that 57.2% of the private sector losses were in retail trade, health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality. Additionally, results from the Survey of Consumer Expectations suggested that the pandemic has caused some workers to reassess the value of their

The DOL stated that future increases in the remainder of New York State will be based on an indexed schedule. This will 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.

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