How all of this plays out, of course, is all speculation at this point. This is the single largest pay increase for the working poor, likely in history.
California's minimum wage increase is state wide immediately, tiered to business size. New York City will mandate $15 an hour for firms with 11 or more employees by 2019, and all others employers by 2020. Businesses in New York suburbs will be required to meet the minimum by 2022.
According to the Wall Street Journal, there were 53.6 million workers in the U.S. paid less than $15 an hour in 2015, including nine million in New York and California.
That nine million represents about 41% of workers in California and 38% of those in New York, excluding those who are self-employed, says the WSJ.
Economists are mixed in their reactions to this move.
Others say jobs will migrate out of the state, or that employers will get even stingier in their use of labor, or that automation and robotics development will escalate.
Some feel that it's about time to elevate the living standards of the lowest rung of the wage ladder, while others believe all that will actually occur is that the cost of living will simply rise to the next median, creating just another wage gap perpetuating the cycle.
Regardless of whether you believe in free market control over wages, or whether more governmental control is necessary, workers' compensation insurance companies will reap big premium increases, and claims indemnity payments will see rapid escalation as disability indexes upwards along with state average weekly wages.
But one indemnity element will become acutely painful: the economic disparity between those impacted long term by a work injury and those who are able to return to work quickly will become even more significant.
The WorkCompCentral report, Uncompensated Worker, demonstrates that those on long term disability wander closer and closer to the poverty line - many people who incur long term permanent disability lose not only their jobs, but any sense of financial security.
Research shows the path to poverty is exacerbated by a work injury that produces long term disability, and workers' compensation permanent disability indemnity benefits fail miserably to cover that gap.
Temporary disability indemnity rates will raise to meet the income elevation because in both California and New York it is indexed to the states' average weekly wages as determined by each state's formula.
But compensation for permanent disability isn't.
Which sets up the next big political fight, ergo "reform." Labor will push to close the gap between permanent disability indemnity and the "living wage," business will object to raising PD - and the question is going to be what each side will give up to get their requested part of the bargain.
New York Republicans had already tried to tie a "reform" of that state's work comp system to the minimum wage increase.
That obviously didn't work. They'll try again.