Over the course of several years, the minimum wages in California and New York both will rise to $15 an hour.
The governors of California and New York each signed legislation Monday that will eventually increase the minimum wage in those states to $15 per hour.
Under the California legislation signed by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., the minimum wage for businesses with 26 or more employees will rise to $10.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017, and then rise each year until reaching $15 per hour in 2022. The bill provides businesses with 25 or fewer employees additional time to phase in the increases.
The legislation also provides “off-ramps” to pause the wage hikes if negative economic or budgetary conditions emerge.
“This is about economic justice, it’s about people,” Brown said. “This is an important day, it’s not the end of the struggle but it’s a very important step forward.”
Once the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour for all businesses, wages could then be increased each year up to 3.5% (rounded to the nearest 10 cents) for inflation as measured by the national Consumer Price Index.
The new California law also phases in sick leave for in-home supportive services workers starting in July 2018.
Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also signed legislation Monday enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan and 12-week paid family leave policy. The legislation was passed as part of the 2016-17 state budget.
“By moving to a $15 statewide minimum wage and enacting the strongest paid family leave policy in the nation, New York is showing the way forward on economic justice,” Cuomo said. “These policies will not only lift up the current generation of low-wage workers and their families, but ensure fairness for future generations and enable them to climb the ladder of opportunity.”
The timing of the increases varies throughout the state. For workers in New York City employed by businesses with at least 11 employees, the minimum wage would rise to $11 at the end of 2016, then another $2 each year after, reaching $15 on Dec. 31, 2018.
For workers in businesses with 10 employees or fewer, the minimum wage would rise to $10.50 by the end of 2016, then another $1.50 each year after, reaching $15 on Dec. 31, 2019.
In Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties, the minimum wage would increase to $10 at the end of 2016, then $1 each year after, reaching $15 on Dec. 31, 2021. In the rest of the state, the minimum wage would increase to $9.70 at the end of 2016, then another $.70 each year after until reaching $12.50 on Dec. 31, 2020 — after which it will continue to increase to $15 on an indexed schedule to be set by the director of the Division of Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor.
The New York bill also provides a safety valve to the increases. Beginning in 2019, the state Division of Budget director will conduct an annual analysis of the economy in each region and the effect of the minimum wage increases statewide to determine whether a temporary suspension of the scheduled increases is necessary.