New York City mayor sets $15 minimum wage for government staff

New York Times Square

The minimum wage for New York City government employees and those who provide contracted work for the city at social service organisations is to rise to $15 an hour by the end of 2018.

Bill de Blasio, New York City mayor, has announced that the higher rate will benefit around 50,000 workers, including 20,000 direct city employees and 30,000 purchase of service employees.

It will cost approximately $238 million to implement the wage increase through to fiscal year 2020.

At present, the minimum hourly rate for directly employed staff is $11.79, and purchase of service employees earn a minimum of $11.50 an hour. The minimum rate will increase on an annual basis to reach $15 by 31 December 2018.

In November 2015, New York State governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the minimum wage for state workers would rise from $9 to $15 an hour. New York is the US first state to enact a $15 public sector minimum wage.

Approximately 10,000 state employees will benefit from this increase, of which 9,000 are based outside of New York City and 1,000 are within the city.

The rate will be phased in gradually, reaching the set rate by the end of 2018 for city workers and by July 2021 statewide.

Mayor de Blasio said: “We know that nothing does more to lift up working families and move our economy forward than raising wages, and the city is leading by example by doing just that for these 50,000 additional New Yorkers.”

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Thomas Perez, US labour secretary, added: “The fight to raise the minimum wage is about more than a number, it’s about fairness and the dignity of work. No one who works a full-time job in this country should have to live in poverty.

“Mayor Bill de Blasio’s action today is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do; it will give city workers a little more money in their pockets to spend in their community and a little more breathing room and peace of mind.”