Do you feel richer? Minimum wage workers got a raise this weekend

This weekend wasn’t just the New Year’s Weekend. It also marked a small increase in the minimum wage for hourly employees in New York State and some other states around the country. For most of New York, the minimum wage is now $10.40, up from $9.70. The federal minimum wage is still $7.25, where it’s been since 2009, but about half of all states have a higher minimum.

“It is definitely a step in the right direction,” says Pete Meyers of the Tompkins County Workers Center. Even though the minimum wage is higher, it’s not quite enough to live on in Tompkins County, according to the living wage study released by Alternatives in 2017.

AFCU says the Tompkins living wage is $15.11/hour, “or $13.90 when an employer pays 100% of health insurance,” according to the Tompkins County Workers Center. Those figures are based on 2016 living and rental costs, said AFCU last August. Their study “looks at housing, transportation, healthcare, and other necessities, as well as allocating a modest allowance for recreation and savings.”

The new hourly rate is higher in New York City, $12/hour for small employers and $13/hour for large employers with 11 or more employees, and in Long Island and Westchester, where it’s now $11, as of December 31, 2017. Annual increases are slated for New Year’s Eve the next few years until everyone reaches a $15 minimum wage, or $10 for tipped workers.

Tipped food service workers get a minimum wage of $7.50 per hour paid by their employer, and fast food workers now get a new minimum wage of $11.75 as of December 31.

“Even the living wage is the bottom of the barrel,” Pete Meyers tells us. “But we’ve had so little movement on minimum wage increases over the years that it’d take a lot to catch up!”

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