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Governor Cuomo Announces 2018 Launch of Economic Justice Programs for the Middle Class: Minimum Wage Increase, Paid Family Leave Policy and Middle Class Tax Cut in New York State

Regional Minimum Wages Increased as New York Moves Toward $15 Minimum Wage

Paid Family Leave Available to New Yorkers Beginning January 1; When Fully Phased in, New Yorkers Will Be Eligible for Up to 12 Weeks of Paid Time Off

Governor Highlights Continued Cut in State Taxes for Working New Yorkers; New York State Taxpayers Will Save An Average of $250 in 2018 Through Middle Class Tax Cut

New Yorkers Encouraged to Visit Paid Family Leave Website Here; Minimum Wage Website Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recentl announced the second increase toward a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage and the launch of the nation's strongest paid family leave policy. In 2016, the Governor signed landmark legislation to restore economic parity and social justice to working families in New York State. Building on seven years of championing progressive policies for New York, the Governor's paid family leave policy is the strongest and most comprehensive package in the country and will help employees maintain financial stability, and the minimum wage increase will reestablish economic justice and fairness across the state.

"New York has made major strides in the fight for economic equality, social justice and workers' rights and with the rollout of this historic minimum wage increase and the strongest paid family leave program in the country, we continue to protect the wallets of middle class New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "New York believes in a fair day's pay for a fair day's work and no family member should have to choose between caring for a loved one or losing their job - this victory will help restore fairness and equality to working families across New York."

Middle Class Tax Cut

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York continues to reduce state taxes to record lows for middle-class New Yorkers. These new lower state tax rates will save middle-class taxpayers nearly $6.6 billion in just the first four years, and annual savings are projected to reach $4.2 billion and benefit six million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the state's lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years. Across New York State, taxpayers will see an average state tax cut of $250 in 2018 and an average state tax cut of $698 when fully phased in in 2025.

Paid Family Leave

Beginning January 1, 2018, New York State will begin the strongest, most progressive and most comprehensive paid family leave policy in the nation. New Yorkers will be allowed to take job-protected paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or help relieve family pressures when a loved one is called to active military service abroad. When fully phased in, New Yorkers will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid time off.

Those eligible for paid family leave include:

  • Parents during the first 12 months following birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child;
  • Caretakers for a sick spouse, domestic partner, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild;
  • Employees with a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent who has been notified of an order of active military service abroad.

Full-time employees with a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week will be eligible for Paid Family Leave after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time employees with a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week can apply for Paid Family Leave after working 175 days for their employer.

Additional information on New York State's Paid Family Leave law, along with numerous resources for employers and workers, can be found on the Paid Family Leave website. The public is also encouraged to call the Paid Family Leave helpline at (844) 337-6303 with any questions. More details are available here.

$15 Minimum Wage

Minimum wage increases are calculated based on where an individual works, by industry, and, in some cases, the size business. It is estimated that more than 2.3 million people will be positively impacted by the increase in the minimum wage statewide.

Today, December 31, 2017, the minimum wage rates in Upstate New York will increase to:



Upstate New York (Not Including Westchester, Suffolk, Nassau Counties and New York City)


Fast Food Workers Outside of NYC


To help inform businesses and employees, the New York State Department of Labor has several tools available on its website.

Other resources available include:

  • Minimum Wage FAQs that answer many of the most common questions;
  • The Minimum Wage Lookup tool lets employees check the minimum cash wage they must be paid by their employers; and
  • The Minimum Wage Information Request Form lets employees ask additional questions that are not already answered on the Department's website and allows organizations to request a live presentation or webinar about the scheduled increases.

Updated minimum wage posters for 2018 can be found at:

For more information on New York State's minimum wage or to file a complaint, please call the minimum wage hotline at 1-888-469-7365.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "My colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority know that families are the heartbeat of our communities. That is why we consistently fight for policies and programs that put New York Families first. These efforts are bringing real change for citizens across the state as we begin to implement New York's Paid Family Leave program and continue to raise wages for every minimum wage worker in the state. No one should ever have to choose between financial security and bonding with a new child or caring for a sick family member. We also believe that no one who works full-time should struggle to make ends meet. These changes will help ensure that every New Yorker can put their own family first."

Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, Independent Democratic Conference Leader, said, "Paid family leave, a $15 minimum wage and a middle-class tax cut are life-changing policies, and I'm proud that we have made them happen for the people of New York. No person will ever have to choose between what's in their bank account or welcoming a newborn into the world or taking care of a sick loved one. Our workforce will finally earn a wage that helps them live better, and our middle-class taxpayers will get a much needed reprieve come tax time."

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Democratic Conference Leader, said, "Today is a great day for New York and I commend the Governor for making paid family leave a reality. No New Yorker should be forced to choose between caring for a loved one in need and potentially losing their job or ability to support themselves. That is why passing a real paid family leave program was top priority for the Senate Democrats."