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New York Proposes $15 Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers

A panel appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has recommended that the minimum wage be raised for employees of fast-food chain restaurants throughout the state from $8.75 to $15 an hour over the next few years. The fast-food industry is one of New York’s biggest employers of low-wage workers with about 180,000 employees.

This proposal would match recent increases in San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles. It would take effect over the next three years for New York City, and over the next six years for the entire state, if the state’s labor commissioner approves the proposal. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has demanded a higher minimum wage to account for its higher cost of living. But neither he nor the City Council has the power to set wages citywide.

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The first wage increase should come by Dec. 31, taking the minimum in the city to $10.50 and in the rest of the state to $9.75. The wage in the city would then rise in increments of $1.50 annually for the next three years, until it reaches $15 at the end of 2018. In the rest of the state, the hourly wage would rise each year, reaching $15 on July 1, 2021.

The bump to $15 an hour in New York will affect workers in fast-food restaurants that are part of chains with at least 30 stores nationally.

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