ALBANY (TNS) — Upstate minimum wage workers will see an income boost starting Jan. 1.
The state Department of Labor announced Monday that the minimum wage north of Westchester County will rise to $13.20 an hour, up 70 cents from $12.50 an hour.
The state will also push the minimum wage for workers in Westchester and Long Island from $14 an hour to $15 an hour as part of a scheduled increase.
The state mandated a gradual phase-in of a $15 minimum wage as part of a state budget plan in 2016.
The state Department of Labor is required to update the minimum wage each year until every worker makes at least $15 an hour.
The increase is happening after a report (which is required by statute) that was done by the state’s Division of the Budget found evidence of pressure for wages to rise in the midst of a pandemic-driven labor shortage.
State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said many companies that employ low-wage workers are already raising their wages or offering incentives in an effort to find enough workers.
The report also found that the low-wage sector was the most severely impacted by the pandemic. One million jobs lost during the pandemic were in the three industries with the most minimum wage workers, including retail trade and health care, as well as leisure and hospitality.
It also found that job board postings are at a record high. In July, postings for minimum-skill or low-wage jobs that require a high school education or vocational training were 95 percent higher than the March 2020 pre-pandemic peak.
All minimum wage employees in New York City have been paid at least $15 an hour since Jan. 1, 2020.
Fast food workers outside of New York City received a raise earlier this year when the minimum wage rose to $15 an hour on July 1.