HAWLEY SOUNDS ALARM ON MINIMUM-WAGE RELATED LAYOFFS

            New York State’s minimum wage increased again this year to $11.10 per hour and Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) vocalized concern that sharp increases year-to-year are unsustainable for upstate’s struggling small businesses. Employers already face the nation’s worst tax business climate and a state regulatory code that forces more outsourcing of jobs, transition to automated labor and loss of benefits for employees.

            “Certainly we want to help the working poor and employees making minimum wage across the state but these sharp increases are like putting a band-aid on a broken leg,” Hawley said. “Misguided policies like these overlook the fact that small businesses will be forced to recoup these increasing labor costs and that could lead to massive layoffs and a cut to benefits for many employees – a regrettable consequence of the law’s intention.”

            The Assembly Minority Conference has proposed wiser economic solutions such as allowing employers to pay a training wage to new employees that is more congruent with their skill sets. Many lawmakers have also come out in support of raising the tipped wage for workers such as servers, a proposal met with animosity by the tipped workers it is meant to help.

            “The minimum wage was never meant to be a living wage and many employers are now mandated to pay higher costs for employees with less experience,” Hawley continued. “Employees like restaurant servers rely on the quality of their service and dedicated work ethic to bring home larger tips and an elimination of this would remove the incentive to provide quality service for these workers.

            “If we are to change New York’s awful business climate and stop our state’s embarrassing exodus rate it starts with tax and regulatory relief that mitigates the root cause of business struggles, not quick fixes and economic gimmicks,” Hawley concluded.

           

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