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Small Businesses Prepare for New York Minimum Wage Increase


Changes to HR laws and regulations are common in today’s business world. In 2017 alone, more than 200 HR law updates took place, and already more than 125 are set to take effect in 2018 (with that number likely to increase as we progress through the year).

Just about all HR regulatory changes have significant impacts for companies, especially small businesses. New York and New York City have had numerous law changes in recent months. These include the NYC salary history ban (which went into effect on October 31, 2017) and the pay disclosure order, which is set go into effect sometime in early 2018.

But another major employment law took effect in New York in 2016/2017, and is now set for an update as we start 2018 – the minimum wage increase. This law has and will continue to have significant impacts for small businesses as the minimum wage in the state gradually increases to $15.


The journey to a $15 minimum wage started in early 2016, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law that would raise the state’s minimum wage each year until it hit $15. The law took effect on December 31, 2016, and raised the minimum wage to over $10 in New York City.

It’s important to note that the increase in minimum wage varies by county/area, industry, and size of a company. For example, the minimum wage increases in New York City differ for companies with 10 or fewer employees, and those with 11 or more.

With 2018 now here, the increases have happened once again, with the minimum wage for NYC businesses with 10 or fewer employees set at $12, and $13 for companies with 11 or more workers.

At the end of 2018 (December 31, 2018) the minimum wage for companies with 11 or more employees will hit the $15 goal set by the law. For employers with 10 or few employees, they will hit the $15 wage one year later, on December 31, 2019.


As with all HR and employment law changes and updates, employers need to be ready for the rising minimum wages in New York. However, companies (especially small businesses) need to also be strategic in their planning, as increased minimum wages mean increased payroll and expenses.

These wage increases also mean that employers need to stay compliant when they take effect. Failure to do so could lead to significant fines and penalties.

To help prepare for these gradual wage increases, small business owners should work with their benefits brokers, payroll providers, and compliance experts to ensure their company is ready when the increases take place each year.

In addition, looking into strategic HR partnerships can help alleviate the stress and work associated with payroll and compliance changes that will happen when the minimum wage increases again next year.

Working with your current providers or considering new partnerships will help small business owners create a strategy and be prepared – both in the short and long term – for the march towards a $15 minimum wage. It’s imperative for small employers to be ready and able to make the new minimum wage work for their business.

Being ahead of these changes will help small businesses be ready for any business impacts that may come from having an increased payroll, and have a plan in place to address it. This can mean all the difference for small business owners, and ensures that their businesses will remain compliant in the coming years.

Want to learn more about PEOs? Check out our eBook, How Well Do You Know PEO? This eBook provides an overview of the PEO industry as well as helpful information for brokers and employers!

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