NY minimum wage rising to $8 an hour

Updated: 12/27/2013 11:09 PM
Created: 12/26/2013 3:30 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Many workers in New York State are about a week away from a raise.

New York State's minimum wage is rising from $7.25 an hour to $8 an hour starting January 1.

The hike is part of a three year plan that will raise the minimum wage to $8.75 in 2015 and then to $9 at the start of 2016.

News10NBC has been talking to local businesses about what the increase can mean for them.
Obviously, few employees complain when they hear they will be getting paid more. But businesses, especially small ones, say the increase could mean we all will have to pay more for their services.

“I think it is a step in the right direction. I am a college student. I go to RIT and many of us are burred in debt and if we can get a little extra money to go through each day it certainly is a good thing,” said Oliver Haynes, student at RIT.

Many people agree. More money is a good thing.

Over at Mayer Paint and Hardware, Dennis McCarthy started years ago at mimimum wage and can remember when it was raised for him.

“It was like a payday,” said McCarthy.

But now as a manager, he sees how the increases can put stress on a business.

“It can really hurt everything, really. A business like us, we hire a lot of part-time employees. I started out here at minimum wage when I was 15, and you grow from there. But when it goes up, you start to think about who you can hire and how many hours you can give people, and it seems to become more stressful,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy says businesses may have to raise prices to be able to pay their employees more.

“You just got a bigger bill to pay, so you have to make the money to pay the bill. With a business like us, in retail that's how we get our money, the prices we put on our product,” he said.

But for Alison Fortin, that's not enough to make her change her mind about being in favor of the minimum wage increase.

“If people are making more money they are able to spend more money, and that will bring the economy back to what it should be,” said Fortin.

Back at Mayer Paint and Hardware,  McCarthy says overall he thinks this is a good idea.

“When your employees are doing well, your business tends to do well, and that's how we look at it,” he said.

Here's an interesting fact. The federal minimum wage was 25 cents in October of 1938, which was when it first started. So at least we have come a long way since then.

The minimums for workers in the restaurant and hospitality industry who get tips may remain at $5 an hour, with employers able to raise the maximum tip credits to $3 an hour the first year, $3.75 the second and $4 after that for service workers whose combined tips and wages meet or exceed the new higher minimums.


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