The New York State Fast Food Wage Board has issued a series of resolutions recommending that the minimum wage for fast food workers be increased to fifteen dollars an hour.
The New York State Minimum Wage Act establishes a minimum wage for all covered workers. The act also provides for the establishment of Wage Boards to investigate the adequacy of minimum wages in various industries and recommend higher levels of wages.
On May 7, 2015, Governor Cuomo directed the Acting Commissioner of Labor to establish a Wage Board to investigate and make recommendations with respect to minimum wages in the fast food industry.
Today, the Wage Board announced three resolutions. The first resolution recommends that the minimum wage in the fast food industry be increased to $15.00 per hour. The second resolution recommends phasing in the minimum wage increases over time. Under current recommendations, the minimum wage will reach $15.00 per hour by December 31, 2018 in New York City, and by July 1, 2021 in the rest of the state.
For New York City, the Wage Board recommends increasing the minimum wage to $10.50 on December 31, 2015, $12.00 on December 2016, $13.50 on December 31, 2017, and $15.00 on December 31, 2018. For the rest of the state, the Wage Board Recommends increasing the minimum wage to $9.75 on December 31, 2015, $10.75 on December 31, 2016, $11.75 on December 31, 2017, $12.75 on December 31, 2018, $13.75 on December 31, 2019, $14.50 on December 31, 2020, and $15.00 on July 1, 2021.
The third resolution, defines who is covered under the order. Covered establishments include any establishment where customers order and pay for their food before eating, which offers limited service, which is part of a chain, and which is one of 30 establishments nationally. Franchisees are covered if the Franchisor owns or operates 30 or more establishments nationally.
The Wage Board’s recommendations must be adopted by Acting Commissioner of Labor Mario Musolino. Mr. Mussolino is expected to adopt the recommendations.
The recommendations are a landmark victory for advocates for fast food workers. Although some localities have adopted minimum wages at or approaching $15.00 or hour, New York would be the first state to increase the minimum wage to this level statewide.