A planned increase in the state's minimum wage should not go forward given the economic headwinds facing businesses, Republicans in the state Senate on Wednesday said.
Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt and GOP lawmakers urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a letter to not allow the minimum wage increase to take effect at the end of the year.
“Our small businesses are hanging on by a thread and in order to help businesses stay open and keep all of their employees, we cannot add any additional financial hardship at this time," Ortt said in a statement. "The Governor has the power to temporarily pause minimum wage increases and we urge him to do so until the end of the pandemic. We do not want our small businesses to make the difficult choice of laying off workers or closing their doors because this becomes the final straw during the financial fragility of the pandemic."
The wage outside of New York City is set to increase from $13 to $14 on Long Island and in Westchester County. Outside of the Metropolitan region, the wage will increase from $11.80 to $12.50.
New York City's minimum wage stands at $15 and is not due to increase.
Small businesses in particular have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic as restaurants and retailers were closed to halt the spread of the virus earlier this year. They could face new restrictions as the pandemic is once again resurgent in New York and across the country.