New York’s minimum-wage workers had more than just a new year to celebrate on Monday — as the ball drop ushered in a series of annual pay bumps that took effect when the clock struck midnight.
The minimum wage in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County ticked $1 higher, from $15 to $16.
In the remainder of New York State, the new minimum wage is $15, up from $14.20.
The state’s minimum wage is expected to increase every year until it reaches $17 in New York City and its suburbs, or $16 in the rest of the state by 2026 under an agreement between Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders announced last April.
The deal came over the objections of some employers, as well as some liberal Democrats who said it didn’t go high enough.
Future hikes will be tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, a key measurement of inflation.
The figures are well above the United States’ federal minimum of $7.25 per hour, the going rate since 2009.
New York is one of 22 states getting minimum wage hikes in the new year, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute.
States and some localities, however, are free to set higher amounts. Thirty states, including California and Connecticut, have recently done so, raising hourly wages 50 cents to $16 in the Golden State, and 69 cents to $15.69 in the Nutmeg State.
Meanwhile, Uber, DoorDash and Grubhub workers can expect to rake in more — $17.96 per hour — working in the Big Apple after losing their second attempt to block New York City’s minimum wage law targeting the app-based firms.
The ruling by a state appeals court last month forces the ubiquitous delivery services to either pay couriers the flat hourly rate of $17.96, plus tips, or pay per delivery at about 50 cents a minute.
The appeals court rejected efforts by the companies to overturn a September 2023 decision by New York Acting Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Moyne to allow the law to go into effect, mandating that Uber, DoorDash and Grubhub pay their gig workers the increased hourly rate, which will rise to nearly $20 in April 2025.
Previously, the apps’ delivery workers in the city earned about $11 an hour on average after expenses, far below the city’s $15 minimum wage.
Mayor Eric Adams said at the time of the December ruling that it was a “win for working New Yorkers,” calling the decision “a powerful tool to hold apps accountable.”
“Our delivery workers have consistently delivered for us — now, we are delivering for them,” Adams added.
Uber, meanwhile, also had to dish out $290 million last month to settle accusations from New York’s attorney general that its ride-sharing business has been “stealing earnings” from thousands of Big Apple drivers for years.
The massive sum accounts for back pay, paid sick leave, proper hiring and earnings notices and other improvements to drivers’ working conditions.
Lyft was ordered to pay $38 million as part of the settlement.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said more than 100,000 drivers throughout New York are entitled to receive settlement funds — implying an average payout of $3,280.
Newer drivers who began after 2017 are not eligible for any additional payments, though James assured that along with the settlement, Uber and Lyft have agreed to provide “new benefits for leave, payment, training and job support.”
These improved benefits — which include up to one week of paid sick leave per year — are set to take effect no later than Feb. 29, 2024.
Eligible drivers can file a claim to receive additional funds they are owed, James said.
Minneapolis legislators proposed a rule last year that the state implement a similar minimum wage rule that says drivers be paid at least $1.40 per miles and $0.51 per minute, though Mayor Jacob Frey vetoed the mandate, which would have otherwise gone into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
With Post wires.