Fast-food restaurants in New York may soon be increasing employee pay – even if the statewide minimum wage doesn't increase.
On Monday, a panel organized by the New York state government to study fast-food wages revealed plans to recommend a substantial increase in worker pay to the state's Department of Labor.
The three members of the panel said research and public meetings led them to conclude that a change is necessary, though they are not yet prepared to make a full recommendation to the State Labor Department. Possible ideas suggested include raising minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 an hour and creating a higher minimum wage for part-time workers to incentivize the hiring of full-time employees, reports the New York Daily News.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the Department of Labor to establish a wage board to examine raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers in May. The panel stated that New York chose to focus on the fast-food industry due to an imbalance in what fast-food workers are paid, citing statistics such as the fact that 60 percent of fast-food workers in the state are enrolled in at least one public assistance program.
Meanwhile, the restaurant and wider franchise industry have opposed efforts to raise minimum wage that single out the fast-food industry.
"New York State can raise its minimum wage if it wants to. But it should not pick off one industry at a time," International Franchise Association President Steve Caldeira said in a statement on the issue in May. "Doing so would echo the ill-conceived action of the City of Seattle, which is being sued because it designed an unconstitutional minimum wage that rises faster for franchise businesses than other types of businesses."
The board's final recommendation is expected to be announced in July.