- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The year’s end will mean higher wages for thousands of workers across New York state.

On Thursday the state’s base minimum wage will rise from $8.75 an hour to $9. Employees of fast-food chain restaurants will see their minimum wage rise to $10.50 in New York City and $9.75 in the rest of the state.

The base hourly rate for restaurant servers and other tipped workers will increase to $7.50.

“No one who works full time should ever be condemned to a life of poverty,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “As we prepare to ring in the New Year, we are making a fundamental difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers across this state.”

The increase in the broader minimum wage is the last of three scheduled increases passed by lawmakers in 2013.

The pay hikes for employees of fast food chains and tipped workers were approved this year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who used his executive power to enact the increases without legislative approval.

Workers in chain fast-food restaurants - defined as restaurants with 30 or more locations nationally - will get additional raises in coming years as part of Cuomo’s plan to gradually increase their pay to $15 an hour in 2018 in New York City and 2021 in the rest of the state.

Cuomo, a Democrat, has also vowed to push legislation that would phase in a $15 minimum for all workers. Lawmakers are expected to debate that proposal during the 2016 session, which gets underway in Albany on Wednesday.

New York is one of 16 states increasing minimum wages on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

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