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News & Press: Laws & Regulations

Should cities and counties be able to raise their minimum wages? No way!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014  
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Even supporters of a minimum wage increase like Governor Cuomo are saying “no way” to this one. In the latest head-scratcher coming out of Albany, some lawmakers are pushing legislation that would allow localities to increase their minimum wages beyond the state level. Moving away from a uniform, statewide minimum wage would create a chaotic system in which localities cannibalize themselves, all while business owners are stuck with the bill. The State Legislature and Governor would need to approve a new law to provide locals the authority to regulate their own minimum wages. Creating a “patchwork quilt” of local minimum wage laws across the state would be extraordinarily difficult to manage for NYS Restaurant Association members, particularly those with multiple locations.

The Restaurant Association is working hard to make sure legislators understand what disastrous effects this would have on our state’s economy. In New York, we already have a minimum wage that’s higher than the federal standard, and it will continue to go up to $8.75 per hour on 12/31/2014 and again to $9.00 per hour on 12/31/2015. Giving localities the right to raise it any higher would have a disastrous impact on the cost of doing business in New York.

While on the subject, we continue to expect a new wage board to be commissioned sometime in 2014. The wage board process is arduous, time consuming and difficult for all parties involved. As always, the Association will remain diligent in representing our industry should a wage board be convened to ensure any final wage order reflects fairness and equity, and the unique nature of our industry. We will continue to keep you informed of our efforts to ensure a manageable and equitable minimum wage law.

Read NYS Restaurant Association's statement on local control of minimum wage in Food Workers Rally at NY Statehouse for Wage Hike published by the Association Press.

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