Hochul Administration Announces Increase in Upstate Minimum Wage

Governor Hochul’s Labor Department announced at the end of last month that it has determined that the upstate minimum wage for general occupations should rise 70 cents on December 31, 2021, to a new rate of $13.20 an hour.

That is consistent with the increases each of the last six years. The upstate minimum has risen 70 cents annually — from $9.00 to $9.70 to $10.40 to $11.10 to $11.80 and currently $12.50.

The original law establishing a multi-year schedule of minimum wage hikes topped out at $12.50 upstate, with the caveat that it should continue to rise to $15 an hour eventually. How fast that should occur, was left up to the Labor Department, with analysis from the Budget Division, to determine.

The original law specified that the minimum wage for Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties shall rise from $14 an hour to $15 on December 31, 2021 so wages will increase to $15 per hour at the end of the year. New York City has already reached $15 per hour for all employers.

The increase in the Upstate minimum wage from $12.50 to $13.20 at the end of the year will result in a proportional increase in the cash wage for tipped foodservice workers.  The cash wage for tipped foodservice workers outside of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester will increase from $8.25 per hour to $8.71 (subject to confirmation from the Labor Department). The cash wage for tipped workers on Long Island and in Westchester County will increase to $10 per hour matching the wage in New York City.