April 1, 2016

SFY 2016-17 Enacted Budget Raises the Minimum Wage and Delivers Paid Family Leave to Support Workers and their Families

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Labor Committee Chair Michelle Titus and Assembly Member Catherine Nolan announced today that the enacted budget will raise the minimum wage across the state and enact paid family leave protections for all workers.

"The Assembly Majority has always fought to keep the needs of our families at the forefront of our agenda," said Speaker Heastie. "For many years, we have led the charge to raise the minimum wage to a level that puts our families on a path to success, not poverty. We also fought to provide family friendly protections like paid family leave that enables workers to take care of what matters most without jeopardizing their livelihoods. We are proud of this budget and the investments in makes in our families and in the future of our great state."

"Without this increase in the minimum wage may hardworking individuals would remain trapped between their desire for financial independence and the constant erosion of their wages," said Assemblymember Titus. "By raising the minimum wage to a more realistic level, we are rewarding work and helping the incomes of working people keep pace with the rising cost of living."

"This budget marks such an important victory for working families all around the state," said Assemblymember Nolan. Since 1997, the Assembly has passed a paid family leave bill. We have long recognized that the hardworking men and women of this state need our support to pursue successful careers and provide for their loved ones. This budget not only provides a meaningful pathway to sustainable wages, but it also provides a safety net from further hardship for workers who need time to care for a new baby or a sick family member. I am proud that we have won this fight for our families."

Under the enacted budget, the hourly wage would be increased for workers in New York City employed by large businesses having 11 employees or more, to $11 at the end of 2016, then by $2 each year thereafter, to reach $15 by 2018. For those workers employed by small businesses having fewer than 10 workers within the City of New York, the minimum wage would rise to $10.50 by the end of 2016, with additional annual increases of $1.50 each year thereafter, to reach $15 by 2019.For workers in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties, the enacted budget would raise the minimum wage to $10 by the end of 2016, then by an additional $1 each year until reaching $15 an hour by 2021.

For low wage workers in the upstate and suburban regions of the state, the minimum wage would increase to $9.70 at the end of 2016, then by additional annual increases of .70 each year until reaching $12.50 on 12/31/2020, with incremental annual increases thereafter to reach $15 on an indexed schedule to be set by the Director of the Division of Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor.

The Paid Family Leave proposal in the enacted budget would gradually provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave benefits for workers who have been employed for at least six-months, to care for an infant, a family member with a serious health condition or to ease the burden placed on families when earners are called into active military service. Benefits will begin in 2018 with 8 weeks of leave payable at 50 percent of an employee's average weekly wage, up to 50 percent of the statewide average weekly wage, and by 2021, provide up to 12 weeks of leave payable at 67 percent of the employees average weekly wage, up to 67 percent of the statewide average weekly wage. This program is self-sustaining and will be funded entirely through a small payroll deduction from each employee.

Finally, the bill will ensure that future scheduled increases to the minimum wage and paid family leave benefits would be carried out only after an evaluation to ensure that such increases would not negatively impact the state and local economies.