Businesses in Westchester will have additional time to phase in an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour thanks to lobbying efforts of the Business Council of Westchester and other business groups.
The latest increase marks the third time the state has raised its minimum wage in the last three years as part of a multi-year deal passed by lawmakers in 2016 to reach a $15-an-hour minimum wage downstate by 2021.
“We had opposed raising the minimum wage because of its negative impact on businesses, especially non-profits,’’ said John Ravitz, Vice President and COO of the Business Council of Westchester. “While we were not able to stop its passage, the Business Council of Westchester played an important role in slowing down the implementation of the $15 an hour minimum wage and separating us from New York City’s implementation schedule. This will allow our businesses extra time to plan and budget for these wage increases.’’
Employees for large New York City employers with 11 or more workers along with city fast-food workers will be the first to reach $15 an hour. The rest of the state will be phased in.
Long Island and Westchester County will not reach $15 an hour until December 2021 and the rest of the state is scheduled to reach $12.50 an hour by December 2020 before eventually reaching $15 at a date yet to be determined.
The BCW began lobbying against the wage hike in 2016 after it announced the results of a survey of its membership which found that Nearly two-thirds of its members opposed the increase with a significant number stating that it would result in reduced hiring, curtailed expansion plans and possible layoffs.