California, New York to Raise Minimum Wage to $15

By Katherine Muniz
April 1, 2016

Both California and New York announced within hours of one another Thursday that they reached deals with state legislative leaders to raise the minimum wage to a record-shattering $15 an hour.


Thursday, the California Legislature approved a new minimum-wage bill to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six years.

The Senate voted 26-12 Thursday to approve the sweeping plan, which it will send to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk to be signed Monday.

“At its core, this proposal is about fairness,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said just before the vote. “This is historic, and today I am proud to be a Californian.”

Under the plan, the state’s hourly minimum wage would increase from the current $10 to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2017, to $11 the following year, and for the following four years, increase by $1 annually until 2022.

New York

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislative leaders reached a budget agreement late Thursday to raise New York City’s minimum wage to $15 by the end of 2018.

Friday, New York Senate overwhelmingly passed the budget, after working through the night to review and pass other parts of the $150 billion spending plan just in time for the start of the fiscal year.

Though New York City’s wage base will be increased to $15 by the end of 2018, elsewhere in New York, increases will come more slowly. Long Island and Westchester County will not reach $15 for nearly six years; areas north of Westchester will only reach $12.50 by 2022.

Despite falling short of enacting a state-wide $15 wage increase, a goal Mr. Cuomo had expressed in his State of the State address in January, on Friday he said: “We’re leaders in economic justice.”

One of the huge highlights of the state budget aside from the minimum wage increase? New York’s revolutionary family-leave policy.

After California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington, New York is now the fifth state to mandate paid family leave time. According to New York Magazine,

“The program will mandate up to 12 weeks of paid time off from a job to bond with a new child (including adopted or foster children), or care for a gravely ill parent, child, spouse, domestic partner, or another family member.”

Paid leave won’t take effect until January 1, 2018, when it will be gradually phased in.

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