For Patricia Orzano, who owns a 7-Eleven on Long Island, her high school workers will be the first to go as the minimum wage increases.
In the state of New York, hourly wages went up to $8 from $7.25 on Jan. 1 and will increase to $9 by 2016. And the could go even higher if a Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 is passed.
"What really scares me is the federal raise. It's so totally unaffordable," Orzano said. "It will require me to cut hours across the board or cut part-timers."
She has 13 hourly employees, five of whom work part-time.
Orzano currently has one high school-aged employee who works eight hours a week, although she usually hires one or two more high schoolers in the summer who each work 15 hours a week.
She said she won't hire untrained workers if she has to pay them $9 an hour -- the same wage that some of her more experienced, full-time workers make now.