NYS minimum wage increase won't cost students jobs

Those working a minimum wage job in New York State, including students, are going to see larger paychecks soon.

As of Dec. 31, the New York State Department of Labor will apply incremental increases to the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, raising it to $8 this year, $8.75 in 2014 and $9 in 2015. For 2013, that is a 10.3 percent increase in wage.

The state has accepted that a wage of $7.25 is unlivable and is following the example of states like Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts, each of which has a minimum wage of $8.00 or higher.

As an integral student employer for New York, Geneseo has prepared for these changes budgeted accordingly.

James Milroy, vice president for administration and finance at Geneseo, explained that this law will cost the Student Employment Service $160,000 dollars on an annual basis in addition to the original $7.25 wage.

“We knew it was coming,” Milroy said. “So we’ve budgeted for it. We have set the money aside.”

Still, Milroy noted that, due to the additional costs, there will be sacrifices made in order to maintain the current system of employment. This could include hiring one or two fewer staff members over the next few years, during which the incremental increases will be most greatly felt.

Mark Scott, executive director for Campus Auxiliary Services, reported that CAS will be affected as well, experiencing about a $30,000 increase in expense to compensate for the minimum wage. Scott said that he and the CAS team feel very confident in dealing with the new expenses.

As for Geneseo students employed in both Temp Services and CAS, there seems to be little reason to worry about these expenses putting their jobs in danger.

“Students are a very valuable part of our program,” Scott said, and he added that it is not in the plan to lay off any students already employed. Milroy said that no students currently in the Temp Service will be laid off.

In addition to guaranteeing student workers their jobs, Milroy also said that Student Employment Services would ensure all students be rewarded with the proper pay raise.

“There are provisions in the law that would enable us not to pay minimum wage to certain students,” Milroy said. “But we don’t play that game. If the minimum wage is going up, it goes up for everybody. It is not fair otherwise.”