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State Lawmakers Explore Minimum Wage Increase

Senate Republicans are exploring options for a potential minimum wage increase, including a potential “training wage” for young employees

Business groups and leading Republican in the New York State Senate have resumed discussions around a possible minimum wage increase, a compromise that might include a “training wage” for less experienced workers, reported The Times-Union.

The compromise would include an increase in the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to $8.75 per hour, as was proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in this year's state budget.

And to soften the impact of the hike, legislators have proposed a timeline that would allow for a gradual phase-in of an increase, along with a training wage that would apply to youthful workers in the first few months of their employment.

Some business leaders support the increase, arguing it will increase consumer demand and over time help their bottom line. They also are pointing to a Michigan law that allows a training wage for the first 90 days of employment for workers under 20 years old.

"From our perspective, when we're employing teens on farms to do things like run cash registers, a training wage could make things easier," said Julie Suarez, director of public policy for the Farm Bureau.

Either way, lawmakers are feeling the pressure of implementing some sort of hike, as polls have shown that a wage increase has the support of more than 80 percent of voters.

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