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Living Wage NYC Coalition Endorses Revisions to City Council Legislation

October 3, 2011

The Living Wage NYC Coalition, representing many thousands of New Yorkers from across the city, today announced that it fully endorses the revisions to the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act being introduced this week and plans to increase its efforts to pass the legislation at a time when an unacceptable number of New Yorkers are living in poverty.

The revisions, described below, are the result of extensive conversations between the Coalition and City Council co-sponsors of the bill. There is broad consensus that these are pragmatic changes that will strengthen the bill and enable it to move forward with greater support. The core focus and intent of the bill remain the same: to ensure that future taxpayer-subsidized commercial development projects create living wage jobs instead of perpetuating poverty.

Revisions to the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act:

1. The living wage of $10 per hour with benefits or $11.50 without benefits will apply to projects receiving $1 million or more in subsidies. Previously, the subsidy threshold was $100, 000.
2. Small businesses earning $ 5 million or less in revenue will be exempt. Previously, the exemption was for small businesses earning $1 million or less in revenue.
3. All manufacturing companies will be exempt.
4. The record keeping requirement of wage information will be consistent with what is required by New York State law, which is six years.
5. The living wage requirement will not apply to projects that receive as of right subsidies. The legislation will remove all mention of ICAP and other as of right subsidies.
6. The length of the living wage requirement will be reduced from 30 years to 10 years or the life of the subsidies—whichever is longer.
7. Commercial tenants in exempted affordable housing projects will also now be exempt.
8. For tipped employees whose jobs would be in businesses affected by the legislation, tips would have to make up the difference their base pay and the living wage rate established by the bill instead of the difference between their base pay and the minimum wage rate of $7.25/hr. Existing law for tipped employees establishes base hourly pay below the minimum wage and permits tips to make up the difference between the base pay and the minimum wage.