MINEOLA, NY – The Office of Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman released its Living Wage Law Annual Report, which highlights the work done by the Comptroller’s Office with guidance from the Living Wage Advisory Board in 2020 to ensure that County contractors pay their employees a Living Wage.
The report highlights the Comptroller’s effort to enforce new regulations by closing a loophole that allowed certain employers to avoid paying their employees the Living Wage. Additionally, our Living Wage Audits issued in 2020 identified underpaid wages and uncompensated time off worth more than $56,000, affecting 72 employees. Over the past three years, the Comptroller’s Office has identified more than $270,000 in unpaid wages and uncompensated time off, affecting 219 workers.
“It has been a priority of my administration in the Comptroller’s Office to fight to ensure that people have the living wage they need to make ends meet here on Long Island. During and after a year that challenged us so much, we need to continue to keep this a priority and hold contractors who do business with Nassau County accountable,” said Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman. “The release of this report following Labor Day is a reminder that this work makes a difference in working people’s lives and is one of the proudest legacies of the Comptroller’s Office.”
“For well over a decade, Nassau County’s Living Wage Advisory Board has worked together to ensure that the Living Wage Law is adhered to and that our County’s working people receive the compensation they’re entitled to,” said John R. Durso, Chair of the Nassau County Living Wage Advisory Board, President of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW and the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “Now more than ever, it is critical that these workers, many of whom are essential to our communities, are treated fairly and have the resources they need to support their families. This report highlights the importance of the work of the Nassau County Comptroller’s Office and what a success the Living Wage hotline has been in expanding access to workers who may need support.”
The Comptroller’s Office continues to perform living wage audits, respond to employee complaints and inquiries, and monitor providers to ensure that they remain in compliance with the Nassau County Living Wage Law.
The Nassau County Living Wage Law was originally enacted in 2007 to raise the minimum wage of employees of most vendors with County service contracts. It mandates that employees of certain companies that Nassau County does business earn a Living Wage.
Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office, working with the County’s Living Wage Advisory Board, has released 48 Living Wage audit reports encompassing 38 different contractors, identifying a total of 2,092 instances of underpayments consisting of $1,074,563 in underpaid wages and an additional
$406,264 in under-accrued compensated time off was identified, for a total of $1,480,827. Since taking office, Schnirman has revitalized the Committee, ensuring it holds regular quarterly meetings and has the information needed to review contractor compliance with the Law.
“Our Office has identified $62,000 in unpaid wages and time off for 96 workers in 2020 and fielded calls to our bilingual living wage hotline that connects our investigators directly with workers, andclosed loopholes that allowed companies to skirt the Living Wage Law,” concluded Schnirman.
The bilingual Living Wage Hotline launched in 2018 provides employees a place to confidentially report violators of the Living Wage Law and receive information about the Law. This easy-to- remember hotline, 516-571-WAGE, connects callers directly with staff in the Comptroller’s Office during business hours so that complaints may be heard. In 2020, we received and investigated 19 complaints through the Living Wage Hotline.
Schnirman also announced the new living wage rates in Nassau County. As of August 1, 2021, the Living Wage is $17.57 an hour without health benefits or $15.20 per hour with health benefits. This rate will stay in effect until July 31, 2022, when it will be adjusted by a percentage equal to the change in the New York Metropolitan Area All Urban Index (NY CPI-U) as promulgated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.
To read the 2020 Annual Living Wage Report, click here.