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February 11, 2008

Weitzman presents report to Legislature on
Living Wage Law compliance

Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman today made a presentation before the Nassau County Legislature’s Labor Committee on the status of the Living Wage Law, which became effective on January 1, 2007. According to Weitzman’s report, 17 of the 55 largest employers affected by the Living Wage Law had instances of noncompliance and an audit of the County’s compliance resulted in approximately 330 employees being given raises.

 “Overall I am pleased with the rate of compliance for the hourly wage employees,” Weitzman said, “however; there are still several areas of concern regarding the practice of some providers mandating that employees accept cash compensation instead of allowing paid time off.”

The law requires that covered employers pay their employees a statutory wage of at least $9.50 per hour.  This rate increases annually until 2010 when it mandates a wage of $12.50 per hour. The Comptroller’s Office monitors and audits compliance with the law.

According to the Comptroller’s Office, the Office of Compliance stated that they have had three requests for waivers from employers covered by the law. They are currently considering the two requests, and have denied one.

Approximately 467 contracts issued in 2007 are subject to the law with a total value of about $192 million. This includes 35 Personal Care Aide (PCA) providers with total billing of $65 million. PCA providers employ the largest number of workers who receive wages at the living wage rate threshold.

The Comptroller’s Office has also begun an audit of the Nassau County Health Care Corporation, which will be completed in 2008. The office will also clarify several issues with the law, such as the number of days off part-time employees are entitled to.

The Living Wage Law applies to the following types of contracts:

  • Service contracts of $25,000 or more.
  • Financial Assistance contracts for more than $50,000 and where the employer has at least 10 employees
  • Leases of property owned or controlled by the County.
  • Subcontractors of covered contractors and financial assistance recipients.

The law does not apply to

  • inter-governmental contracts;
  • employees who are trainees, disabled or under 18.
  • Service contracts and financial assistance for providers of child care services, pre-school services and early intervention services.
  • Employees of Nassau Community College.
  • Contracts where services are incidental to the delivery of products, equipment or commodity.

In 2007, the Comptroller’s Office established The Living Wage Advisory Board to provide guidance and give advice on Living Wage Issues.  It is chaired by John Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor.

The full text of the report may be read or downloaded by clicking on the link below:

PDF File Living Wage Law 2007 Annual Report (pdf file)