NEW YORK, NY – In a move to improve the livelihoods of workers, New York will be raising its minimum wage starting January 1st. The new hourly minimum will be $16 for workers in New York City, Westchester County, and Long Island. The rest of the state will see an increase from $14.20 to $15 per hour.
These changes come as a result of a longstanding goal set seven years ago to achieve a $15 statewide minimum wage. State lawmakers and Governor Kathy Hochul approved the increases in May as part of a budget deal. The plan also includes 50-cent increases in 2025 and 2026, followed by automatic yearly adjustments. Beginning in 2027, the minimum wage will rise annually based on the pace of inflation, without requiring further action from Albany.
New York is one of 22 states that will be implementing minimum wage increases in January. Neighboring states such as Connecticut and New Jersey will be raising their minimum wages to $15.69 and $15.13, respectively. California’s minimum wage will also be increasing to $16, matching the downstate area of New York. Washington State will have the highest minimum wage in the country at $16.28.
For minimum-wage workers in the downstate area of New York, the impending increases will result in a $2,080 annual pay boost. In the rest of the state, workers will see a $1,664 hike.
While the increase in wages is a positive step for workers, some business organizations express concerns about the complexity of the new scale. In addition to the minimum wage adjustments, a new rule defines wage theft as larceny. This means that employers who misclassify employees or miscalculate tip compensation could face significant financial penalties and even criminal charges.