Mineola, NY- Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released the 2014 Living Wage Annual Report today which showed improved compliance with the County Living Wage Law. The Law currently requires vendors with County Contracts to pay employees a minimum of $15.54 an hour or $13.59 with health benefits. Only one vendor owed employees $27,735 down from the $120,000 owed from the previous years at the end of 2014. The total amount has since been paid to the affected employees. Overall, the Comptroller’s audits have helped 1,295 underpaid county vendor employees recover over $603,000 in wages and benefits since the creation of the law in 2007. Enforcement of the Law has helped thousands receive proper pay from their employers.
“Since 2007 the County Living Wage Law has enabled, without much controversy, thousands of our lowest paid workers earn a decent wage,” Comptroller Maragos said. “I am happy that Governor Cuomo is now proposing a similar law for New York State workers.”
In 2014, the Comptroller’s Office conducted a follow up audit of Peace Valley Haven Inc. (“PVH”), a Not-for-Profit Homeless Shelter provider, who shortchanged 26 of their employees over $120,000 during the period 2010 and 2011. Although these employees were scheduled to receive payments, a review done in 2014 revealed that some of these employees were still not fully compensated, and were owed in excess of $11,000. A follow-up review for the period 2012-2013 found nine employees were not paid overtime, and were owed $13,354 for the period 2012-2013. In 2013, six employees were paid hourly rates less than the amounts mandated by the Living Wage Law, resulting in an underpayment of $3,381. In total employees of PVH were owed $27,735 by the end of 2014 which has since been repaid.
An audit of another agency in 2014 found them to be in compliance with paying the living wage rate of pay, and except for one minor error, they were also in compliance with the compensated time off policies for their employees.
The Nassau County Living Wage Law was enacted by the Nassau County Legislature in 2007 to ensure that employees of companies doing business with the County earn the Living Wage and receive health benefits (or a health benefit supplement), and that full-time employees receive no less than twelve paid days off per year. The Law requires that the Comptroller report annually to the County Executive and the County Legislature summarizing and assessing the implementation of and compliance with the Law during the preceding year.
The Comptroller also meets with the Living Wage Advisory Board, whose expertise and advice help set an example for effective Living Wage enforcement. The Board works to identify improvements to the law and to ensure that compliance is the rule, not the exception.
The current Living Wage rate of $15.54 an hour without health benefits or $13.59 with health benefits will stay in effect until August 1, 2016, when it will be again adjusted based upon the CPI Index.
For more information on the Nassau County Living Wage Law visit our website at http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/1597/Living-Wage
Connect with Nassau County Comptroller Maragos Online: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/index.html