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Fast Food and Minimum Wage Workers Ring in 2016 with a Pay Hike

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By Alex Howard.
Several new laws going into effect on January 1st reflect big issues brought up in the New York State Legislature this past year. From minimum wage increases to lowered taxes and even new gender discrimination laws, 2015 was a busy year for Albany.

- The hourly minimum wage is scheduled to rise from $8.25 to $9.00 an hour, while tipped workers will see their hourly pay increase to $7.50.

- Fast food workers in New York City will see their pay increase to $10.50 an hour, while Fast Food Workers elsewhere in the state will rise to $9.50.

- The business income tax for most business will drop from 7.1% to 6.5%, which is anticipated to save $25 million and is the lowest flat rate since 1968.

- Sole proprietor businesses with less than $250,000 in income and at least one employee will see their state exemption go from 5% to 3.75%. This is expected to save $60 million dollars.

The fast food workers' minimum wage increase came after protests earlier this year which prompted Governor Cuomo to call for a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 per hour by the end of 2018.

On January 19th, workplace gender equality protections go into effect. These include the following:

- A ban on discrimination based on family status, and requires employers to make workplace accommodations for pregnant employees.

- If an employee sues for sex discrimination and is successful, their attorney fees are covered by their employer.

- Small business employees will be able to file gender discrimination complains with the state, something that previously only large businesses could do.