Fast Food Workers Will Soon Earn More Than These Other Professionals

In New York, $15 an hour puts them ahead of pre-school teachers and morticians

Jul 23, 2015 at 1:16 PM ET

The people who flip your burgers and add salt to your fries will get paid more than some preschool teachers, morticians, drug rehab counselors and lifeguards as the minimum wage for fast-food workers in New York is expected to rise to $15 by 2020.

The increase represents a raise of over 70 percent for workers who currently make the state minimum wage of $8.75, but only employees at Subway, Wendy’s, Panera Bread and other fast-food chains with more than 30 restaurants will be eligible.

Wages in New York City will rise to $10.50 on December 31, to $12 on the same date in 2016, $13.50 in 2017 and finally $15 in 2018. The state will follow suit and reach $15 by 2020. The recommendation, backed by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, is expected to be put into effect by an order of the state’s acting commissioner of labor.

Earning $15 an hour would put workers who prepare and serve Whoppers, Egg McMuffins and Chalupas at a higher income than a range of entry-level skilled professions in New York City today. This is provided they work 40 hours per week, which works out to an annual salary of $28,800.

They will earn more than entry-level preschool teachers, who make $27,310, according to latest data from the New York State Department of Labor. They would also make more than entry-level drug-rehabilitation counselors, who earn $25,980, entry-level morticians, who earn $26,320, and medical assistants, who start their careers with an income of just $24,960.

#FightFor15 trended for a time on Wednesday and Thursday as the fight for a wage hike in New York continues to inspire similar movements in cities including Boston and Miami. Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle have already introduced a $15 minimum wage, with a vote on a similar increase expected in Washington, D.C., next year.