ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON LABOR
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
In 1938, when Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and prescribed a minimum wage, it was intended to ensure that low-wage workers would earn, at the very least, a wage on which they could afford life's most basic necessities. Over the years, research has shown that increases to the minimum wage under the FLSA have not kept pace with inflation, and as a result, the minimum wage has long ceased to offer the protection against poverty that it was intended to. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the value of the nation's minimum wage peaked at $1.50 in 1968.
While all states are required to comply with the provisions of the FLSA, they may also elect to set a minimum wage that is higher than the federal standard. Historically, the statutory minimum wage in New York State (NYS) has kept pace with the federal standard with exceptions in 1967-68, 1970-74, and 2005-08 when the State minimum exceeded the federal wage. If the FLSA's 1968 minimum wage of $1.50 had been indexed to inflation, it would be at least $10.00 today. In light of this disparity, it is clear that the current value of $7.25 per hour is insufficient to provide basic needs like food and shelter, let alone access to healthcare or retirement security to the more than 264,000 New Yorkers who are earning at, or below the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour and indexing it annually to inflation, as proposed in A.9148, would spur economic growth, create jobs and allow low-wage workers the ability to better support their families.
Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.
Oral testimony will be limited to ten minutes' duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible.
Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.
In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.
Keith L.T. Wright
Member of Assembly
Committee on Labor