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AARP Says Minimum Wage Hike Moves New York Workers Closer To Livable Wage

Assoc. Backs Minimum Wage Boost - Move Would Help Many 50plus Workers Across the State

ALBANY, N.Y., March 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the debate over increasing the minimum wage escalating in Albany, today, AARP announced it is backing the move saying it will aid many 50plus workers struggling with the ability to retire while grappling with soaring health care, utility, prescription drug, grocery and gas prices.  

On the heels of a new AARP analysis of 40plus workers in the state finding nearly a quarter are in the lowest income bracket, the Association says the increase in New York's minimum wage would get New Yorkers closer to a "livable" wage. 

The legislation, passed by the Assembly earlier this year, would raise the state's minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour, or, for someone working full-time, year-round, the increase would be from making roughly $15,080 to $18,720. Governor Cuomo's plan calls for an increase to $8.75 an hour or $18,200 a year.  New York has not increased its minimum wage since 2009.

According to a recent study of livable wages by state and city, a livable wage for New York is $11.50 an hour ( $12.75 in New York City).  AARP believes that government policies should ensure that workers' pay and other benefits are sufficient to cover essential living expenses. The Association supports the living-wage concept as a method of keeping workers' pay commensurate with the local cost of living.

"Across New York State, many 50plus workers continue to live in a state of financial insecurity; they've seen pensions disappear, retirement savings dwindle, and nest eggs disappear, while costs of the basics soar," said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York.  "New Yorkers deserve a livable wage and any increase in the minimum wage is a positive step in that direction."

Nationally, one-third of all AARP members are in the workforce.  There is a sizable segment of the workforce for whom full-time, year-round work does not provide sufficient income for a decent standard of living.  A significant number of midlife and older workers are also finding themselves in the contingent workforce because they can't find full time work.  Contingent workers typically receive lower pay and few or no benefits, lack job security or opportunities for advancement, and have few legal protections.

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