Economy

NYC's minimum wage increase may lead to a business exodus

NYC's minimum wage increase may lead to a business exodus

A $15 hourly rate - up from $13 - kicks in on December 31 for the city's fast food workers and employees of businesses with 11 or more people. The raise comes after voters approved Proposition B in November, which calls for boosting the state's minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023.

Seattle's largest employers will have to pay workers at least $16 an hour starting Tuesday.

The increases run the gamut from 5 cents an hour in Alaska, which tied its minimum wage to inflation in 2014, to $1.50 an hour in New York City, where the minimum for most non-service jobs is gradually moving toward $15 an hour.

Advocates credit the trend toward higher minimum wages to the "Fight for $15", a national movement that has used protests and rallies to push for higher wages for workers in fast food, child care, airlines and other sectors.

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New York City business owners may soon take a hike - to neighboring towns in New Jersey and CT, where labor costs now look much more attractive, say labor experts.

The minimum wage in Korea is calculated by dividing the monthly salary by the number of working hours.

Altogether, 5 million Americans will see higher pay on the first day of the New Year, estimates the Economic Policy Institute, which has tracked minimum wage data since 2010.

All told, come December 31 or January 1, 20 states and 23 localities nationwide will hike the minimum wage. A local ordinance raised the minimum wage to as much as $11 an hour in 2015, then as much as $13 in 2016, depending on the size of the employer and whether it provided health insurance.

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Meanwhile, the government chose to include the regularly paid bonuses surpassing 25 percent of the minimum wage and welfare benefits exceeding 7 percent of it in the calculation of basic wages from Tuesday, as part of efforts to ease the financial burden of employers.

In October, however, those same researchers reached a contrasting conclusion.

Both supporters and opponents of higher minimum wages have pointed to the Seattle studies.

In six states-California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island-the increases were voted in by state legislatures. Under federal law and many state laws, these workers can be paid less than the legal minimum wage on the assumption that they receive a substantial part of their income in the form of tips. "But it's motivated many of them to accept that we need higher minimum wages than we now have in much of the country".

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