THE BRONX - The minimum wage in New York City will rise to $15 by 2018 after state lawmakers reached a budget deal, but one Bronx company is phasing it in ahead of time.

For several months, Bronx meat distributer Nebraskaland has been enacting a starting salary of $15 an hour for all its entry-level employees.

The company brings in about $450 million a year in sales to supermarkets and wholesale companies throughout the United States.

Employees say starting at a livable wage helps with morale, while management says it reduces turnover.

The pay hikes are expected to be phased in by the end of the year.