Friday, April 25, 2014
A Westbury attorney specializing in employment law is urging Long Island businesses to raise their minimum pay rates to $10.10 now, instead of waiting for the federal government to mandate that same wage increase.
Neil Greenberg of Neil Greenberg & Associates says increasing minimum pay now will create long-term benefits for the employer and the employee alike – and will also spur local economic growth, enough to outweigh whatever employer costs are associated with the hike.
“When modest wage-earners are paid more money, they spend that money,” Greenberg said. “They generally spend it in our communities.”
So local businesses will end up supporting each other, the attorney added, as higher take-home pay flows back into the local economy.
New York State has already implemented a plan to incrementally raise the state’s minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour by the end of 2015. According to Greenberg, that increase is too slow and too small, and he’s actively encouraging his clients to jump ahead.
“When you look at the cost of milk and when you look at the cost of bread or gasoline, I don’t believe taking us from where we were to $9 an hour is sufficient,” he said.
Part of the problem, the attorney said, is that many small businesses are more concerned with short-term profits than adopting “a more forward look” that recognizes increased-pay benefits including higher employee-retention rates and that shot in the local economy’s arm.
But small business owners aren’t the only ones expressing those concerns. Matthew Cohen, vice president of government affairs and communications for the Long Island Association, said any increase to the current minimum wage would impede the Island’s economic recovery.
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