Proposed New York state minimum wage legislation would boost wages for nearly 2.9 million workers: Minimum wages would range by region from $20 to $21.25 per hour by 2026


Updated minimum wage legislation in the New York State Senate and Assembly (S3062D/A7503C) would secure much-needed wage increases for almost 2.9 million workers throughout the state. The proposed Raise Up New York legislation—which would index annual statewide increases to inflation and labor productivity—would help protect workers’ economic security as prices rise, and prevent inequality from widening as the economy grows.

A fair way of calculating the minimum wage

Currently, New York has distinct minimum wage schedules for three different regions in the state: New York City, the suburban counties of Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk, and the remainder of upstate New York. As shown in Table 1, New York City’s minimum wage is $15 per hour, where it has stood since 2018. Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk counties’ minimum wage reached $15 per hour at the end of 2021, while the minimum wage for the rest of the state is currently $13.20 with scheduled annual increases that will track nominal labor productivity (real productivity plus inflation) until it eventually reaches $15.00 per hour.

The proposed Raise Up New York legislation would increase the minimum wage for New York City and Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk counties to $21.25 through 2026, and then increase the minimum wage annually by nominal labor productivity. The tipped minimum wage would also increase while remaining two-thirds of the regular minimum wage as stipulated in New York law. The minimum wage for the rest of the state would reach $20.00 an hour in 2026 before catching up to NYC and the suburban counties in 2027. The inflation and labor productivity adjustments would follow the same formula that New York has already been using for state minimum wage increases in recent years.

Raise Up New York legislation would increase the state minimum wage to more than $21.25 in 2027: Current and proposed minimum wage values by region of New York, 2023–2027

 

Year New York City Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk counties Upstate New York 
Current minimum wage values
2023 $15.00 $15.00 $13.20 + annual increase
Raise Up New York increases
2024 $17.25 $17.25 $16.00
2025 $19.25 $19.25 $18.00
2026 $21.25 $21.25 $20.00
2027 $21.25 + annual increase $21.25 + annual increase $21.25 + annual increase

Note: Annual increases from 2026 onwards will be made to adjust for CPI increases and labor productivity increases. 

As EPI has documented, labor productivity has more than doubled in the last 50 years. Figure A shows how the increases through 2026 would help New York workers recapture some of the gains in productivity in the economy over the last five decades. If the minimum wage for New Yorkers had increased with productivity and price increases since its peak real value in 1968, it would be greater than $22 per hour in 2022 and most likely exceed $28 per hour in 2026. This means that Raise Up New York’s scheduled increases to $21.25 are well within the economy’s ability to afford. It makes no sense for workers to be paid less today than in 1968 when the economy has experienced such enormous growth.

Increased productivity means the economy has the potential for higher living standards, but only if those gains are passed along as wage increases for workers. Adjusting the minimum wage for labor productivity is a sensible policy that would help protect the living standards of low-wage workers as the economy grows.

Indexing the minimum wage to labor productivity will improve workers’ standard of living as the economy grows: New York minimum wage over time and projected 1968 minimum wage value if it had grown with productivity, 1960–2022, and Raise Up New York projected values, 2023–2026

Year New York state nominal min. wage Upstate New York nominal min. wage Projected min. wage for upstate New York Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk counties nominal min. wage Projected min. wage for Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk counties New York City min. wage Projected min. wage for NYC and suburb counties Projected if the min. wage rose with productivity Projected if the min. wage rose with productivity
1960 $1.00  $ 1.10
1961 $1.15  $ 1.15
1962 $1.15  $ 1.21
1963 $1.25  $ 1.27
1964 $1.25  $ 1.33
1965 $1.25  $ 1.39
1966 $1.25  $ 1.48
1967 $1.50  $ 1.54
1968 $1.601968″,”showlabel”:true}”>  $ 1.66
1969 $1.60  $ 1.74
1970 $1.85  $ 1.86
1971 $1.85  $ 2.03
1972 $1.85  $ 2.18
1973 $1.85  $ 2.35
1974 $2.00  $ 2.51
1975 $2.10  $ 2.80
1976 $2.30  $ 3.03
1977 $2.30  $ 3.25
1978 $2.65  $ 3.51
1979 $2.90  $ 3.80
1980 $3.10  $ 4.11
1981 $3.35  $ 4.58
1982 $3.35  $ 4.82
1983 $3.35  $ 5.18
1984 $3.35  $ 5.52
1985 $3.35  $ 5.80
1986 $3.35  $ 6.04
1987 $3.35  $ 6.21
1988 $3.35  $ 6.53
1989 $3.35  $ 6.86
1990 $3.80  $ 7.22
1991 $4.25  $ 7.54
1992 $4.25  $ 8.02
1993 $4.25  $ 8.26
1994 $4.25  $ 8.51
1995 $4.25  $ 8.72
1996 $4.75  $ 9.07
1997 $5.15  $ 9.41
1998 $5.15  $ 9.73
1999 $5.15  $ 10.15
2000 $5.15  $ 10.63
2001 $5.15  $ 11.06
2002 $5.15  $ 11.56
2003 $5.15  $ 12.22
2004 $5.15  $ 12.89
2005 $6.00  $ 13.53
2006 $6.75  $ 14.04
2007 $7.15  $ 14.54
2008 $7.15  $ 14.91
2009 $7.25  $ 15.40
2010 $7.25  $ 16.09
2011 $7.25  $ 16.44
2012 $7.25  $ 16.82
2013 $7.25  $ 17.21
2014 $8.00  $ 17.62
2015 $8.75  $ 17.97
2016 $9.00 $9.002016″,”showlabel”:true}”> $9.00 $9.00  $ 18.22
2017 $9.70 $10.00 $11.00  $ 18.75
2018 $10.40 $11.00 $13.00  $ 19.42
2019 $11.10 $12.00 $15.00  $ 19.99
2020 $11.80 $13.00 $15.00  $ 20.51
2021 $12.50 $14.00 $15.00  $ 21.50  $ 21.50
2022 $13.20 $13.20 $15.00 $15.00 $15.00 $15.00  $ 22.61
2023 $13.20 $15.00 $15.00  $ 24.79
2024 $16.00 $17.25 $17.25  $ 26.09
2025 $18.00 $19.25 $19.25  $ 27.28
2026 $20.00$20.00″,”labelx”:”-3″,”showlabel”:true}”> $21.25$21.25″,”labelx”:”-3″,”showlabel”:true}”> $21.25$21.25″,”labelx”:”-3″,”showlabel”:true}”> $28.352026: / $28.35″,”labelx”:”-3″,”showlabel”:true}”>
2027
2028
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