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Long Island, NY: Nassau hikes living wage
Long Island Business News
Claude Solnik

August 3, 2011
View the Original Article

Nassau County on Monday hiked its living wage, the minimum pay for workers in contracts with the county of more than $25,000, to $14.61 and $12.90 an hour with benefits.

The county raised the amount from $14.16 without benefits and $12.50 with benefits in the latest of a string of raises designed to assure workers in contracts with the county earn enough to live in the area.

“The county’s Living Wage Law protects employees and ensures they earn a decent salary,” Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos said.

Nassau enacted a living wage law in January 2006, which Maragos in a written statement said was “designed to ensures that employees earn a decent hourly wage.”

The living wage provision also relates to health benefits, child care benefits or benefits supplements and paid days off. The wage has increased each Aug. 1 since 2007.

Although the provision applies to all services for the county, home health care has been most widely affected.

The Nassau County Legislature on July 26, 2010 unanimously voted to protect a $1 living wage increase that year.

Some home health care companies have opposed the living wage hike as adding cost to an industry with already thin margins, while unions have fought for what they say is minimal compensation.

The Long Island Federation of Labor and 1199 SEIU, along with other labor and community organizations have fought to preserve the increases.