Time & Attendance
Prevent Call Outs
Implementation & Launch
By Ali Elkin
Feb. 17, 2012
About 1 million New Yorkers would get a raise if the Assembly bill to increase the state’s minimum wage became law, and the vast majority are adults or work full-time, according to a study released Feb. 17 by a liberal think tank.
The Fiscal Policy Institute study breaks down the share of New York workers who currently make less than $8.50 an hour, the proposed new minimum wage. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced a bill in late January that would raise the current minimum wage of $7.25 beginning in 2013 and adjust it for inflation over time.
The study found that 880,100 New York employees earn less than $8.50 an hour. About 352,000 of those are in New York City, about 40 percent of the state total. In the city, 92 percent of those workers are at least 20 years of age.
Were employers to hire at the same rates and adjust pay scales to reflect the new minimum wage, an additional 120,000 workers would benefit, the study found.
Critics of the bill said employers would do no such thing. “It sounds good politically, but it’s just not the best way to accomplish the goal,” said Russell Sykes, a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Empire Center for New York State Policy, an offshoot of the Manhattan Institute.
Sykes said raising the minimum wage is an imprecise strategy that would eliminate jobs. He said the earned income tax credit is a more effective mechanism for targeting poverty, as it addresses factors in a case-by-case basis, applying yearly wage increases by refunding money to the families who truly earn the least. Sykes said businesses facing an unforgiving economy will not shell out an extra $2,600 a year per full-time employee that the new minimum would demand, and the result would be higher unemployment.
“You have people who won’t get hired when the cost of labor goes up,” Sykes said. “We’re already in a high unemployment stage.”
The Fiscal Policy Institute found that two-thirds of employees in the city earning less than $8.50 an hour work at least 30 hours a week. The institute argues that increasing wages would boost purchasing power among low-wage earners and would “pump much-needed spending into local businesses and communities and will create roughly 7,500 new jobs” statewide.
Ali Elkin writes for Crain’s New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email email@example.com.
Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.
Schedule, engage, and pay your staff in one system with Workforce.com.
federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance
Staffing Management4 proven steps for tackling employee absenteeism
absence management, Employee scheduling software, predictive scheduling, shift bid, shift swapping
Time and Attendance8 ways to reduce overtime and labor costs
labor costs, overtime, scheduling, time tracking, work hours
Don't miss out on the latest tactics and insights at the forefront of HR.