New York State begins raising minimum wage, paid sick leave

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB)–For Upstate workers making the minimum wage, or a little more, January first brought a pay raise. For most employers, the Upstate minimum wage starts at $12.50 an hour, and gradually rises until it gets to 15 dollars an hour.

For Macie Pisa, co-owner of the dog grooming business Laundro Mutt, the new pay increase, and sick leave law is for her competition.

“So we actually just expanded it so we are giving the 40 hours and we just doubled it. So everybody now gets pretty much two weeks of sick leave.”

Another new benefit for New York’s private-sector workers, paid sick leave, which they actually started accruing last September.

“Companies with 4 or more employees who make at least one million dollars a year, or any other company with at least 5 to 100 employees has to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave, said Joe Saeli, of Colligan Law.

The new worker benefits for New York’s private employers is another hurdle for their bosses to overcome during a once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic.. and it is especially tough for those in the hospitality and food industry.

“Lack of business and increasing costs all around has been devastating for us, and the timing of this next increase in the minimum wage certainly is going to be an impact for us,” said David Schutte owner of Oliver’s Restaurant.

Schutte says his Britesmith Brewery has been a bright light.

“At Brightsmith we do have our beer garden which is just toally open to the atmosphere, and people have been loving coming out be the fire pit and having a few beers and pizza, and it has been a lot of fun out there.”

Private sector employees can accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work, up to 56 hours per calendar year. You can find more information here.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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