New York has just joined the ring of places to raise minimum wage. The plans are in place and are expected to be finalized this summer. Under the new rules, fast food restaurants with 30 or more locations will have to raise minimum wage for workers to $15/hour by 2021. It’s not the first time we’ve heard new rules like this. Seattle, and Los Angeles are among cities to raise minimum wage already. But there are some key differences.
- New York’s minimum wage change was raised without legislation.
Unlike in other areas of the country, where minimum wage increases were voted on by the public or mandated by legislation to work through state lawmakers; New York’s minimum wage increase was recommended by a wage board and enacted by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. There are only a few states where the governor has the power to influence wages without legislative action. But those powers go back decades. California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New Jersey governors also have similar influence.
- New York’s minimum wage change affects fast food workers only.
According to a CNBC report a wage board driven strategy to lift pay hasn’t been done since the 1940s and 1950s. Around the country, fast food and other low paying job workers have been advocating to raise the minimum wage to $15 for years now. And in other places that have enacted an increase, it has been for businesses in general. New York’s minimum wage hike affects fast food workers only. More specifically, it affects workers of fast food restaurants that have 30 or more locations. In the state of New York, franchisees are classified as being a part of a larger system. They are not small, independently owned businesses. So this will most likely have a big impact on fast food franchisees.
That brings us to the third point – which is that franchisees are included. In Seattle, when minimum wage was increased the debate immediately turned to whether franchisees were independently owned. The ultimate decision was that franchisees in Seattle are not small, independent businesses; although it did take a little while for that part of the decision to come down.
Even if you are not in an area where wage increases are happening, if you’re a business owner, it might be a good idea to take a look the possibility of it happening. There is no telling when the fight for $15 might end up at your door.