powered by LeadingAge New York

Fast Food Wage Board Recommends Increase in Minimum Wage


On July 22, the Fast Food Wage Board (the Wage Board) voted to recommend raising the minimum wage paid to fast food chain workers to $15.00 per hour by 2018 in New York City and by 2021 in the rest of the state.  Under New York’s Minimum Wage Law, the minimum wage may be raised administratively by the Commissioner of Labor upon the recommendations of a Wage Board.  The report and recommendations of the Wage Board have been published for public comment.  The Commissioner of Labor may accept, reject or modify the Wage Board's recommendations. 

The Wage Board’s  report recommends increasing the minimum wage incrementally on the following schedule:

New York City

  • December 31, 2015:        $10.50
  • December 31, 2016:        $12.00
  • December 31, 2017:        $13.50
  • December 31, 2018:        $15.00

Rest of State

  • December 31, 2015:        $9.75
  • December 31, 2016:        $10.75
  • December 31, 2017:        $11.75
  • December 31, 2018:        $12.75
  • December 31, 2019:        $13.75
  • December 31, 2020:        $14.50
  • December 31, 2021:        $15.00

The increase would apply to “fast food establishments,” operated as a franchise or as an integrated entity, that own or operate at least 30 establishments nationally.

Convened in May 2015, the Wage Board was charged with considering: (i) adequate compensation to protect health and provide adequate maintenance for fast food workers, (ii) the value of the work performed, and (iii) the wages paid in the State for work of comparable character.  It noted that fast food workers are twice as likely to be living in poverty or near poverty than the workforce as a whole.  Sixty percent of fast food workers in New York receive some form of public assistance. The Wage Board also pointed out that the extreme part-time character of many fast food jobs keeps weekly wages exceptionally low.  Moreover, the unpredictability of the hours often prevents workers from supplementing their wages through second jobs.  The Wage Board highlighted the growth and profits in the industry as evidence of the value of the work and observed that workers in full service restaurants are paid on average 50 percent more than fast food workers.

LeadingAge New York will be submitting comments on the recommendations.  Comments may be submitted by email here or by U.S. mail to the following address:

 NYS Dept. of Labor Wage Board Objections, Building 12 Room 586, State Office Campus, Albany, NY 12240.

Contact:  Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8383 ext. 124.