New York Minimum-Wage Hike Includes Hotline to Report Employers Not Paying Enough

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters during a news conference Sept. 14, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

New York launches its higher minimum wage on Monday along with a tip line for people to report employers who aren’t ponying up the extra pay.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that “the historic increase in the minimum wage” to as much as $15 per hour in New York City “continues to set a national example in the fight for economic justice.”

The phased-in minimum-wage hike was included in the state’s 2016-17 budget and requires New York City’s “big employers” — those with more than 10 employees — to pay $15 per hour while small NYC employers have to raise wages to $13.50 per hour, reaching $15 by Dec. 31, 2019. Long Island and Westchester raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour on Monday, gradually reaching $15 per hour by 2021. And the rest of New York state workers will see the minimum wage go up to $11.10 per hour, reaching $12.50 by 2020.

According to the National Employment Law Project, a $15 minimum wage in New York would raise the pay of 3.1 million workers in the state — more than a third of the labor force — with 1.4 million of those workers in New York City. More than half of all Latino workers in the state and 40 percent of African-American workers would get pay hikes. The average affected employee would receive $4,800 more per year.

State business councils that opposed the hike argued that the bad will outweigh the good. A Business Council of Westchester member survey found that 91 percent said they would likely or definitely hire fewer employees, 46 percent said it would likely or definitely curtail business expansion plans, and 37 percent said the increase would likely or definitely cause layoffs.

“In New York, we believe in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and are proud to be stepping up for hardworking families and making a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We won’t stop until every New Yorker is paid the fair wages they deserve.”

The New York State Department of Labor is launching a public education campaign including subway ads and TV/radio spots to remind minimum-wage workers that they’re supposed to get raises and what to do if their employers don’t give them extra pay.

The state has established a hotline, 1-888-4-NYSDOL, to receive reports about employers who do not comply with the new minimum-wage schedule.