New York Mayor de Blasio Fights to Raise Living Wage in NYC

You don’t need to consult with a New York wage and hour law firm to learn that making a living and feeding your family in New York City can be tough if you earn minimum wage.

NYC is notoriously expensive. Even well off married couples, who earn combined incomes that would make them wealthy in any other city in the nation, often find themselves living in cramped apartments, barely able to pay rent and feed their families.

For people who survive on minimum wage jobs, the unbearable costs of the city can force folks to live marginal existences. We at Joseph & Kirschenbaum fight vigorously on behalf of restaurant workers and other laborers who suffer when management skims their tips, docks overtime, and engages in other acts of “nickel and diming,” because we know those lost wages can add up and cause ferocious destruction. Fortunately, we’re not the only ones outraged.

Last Tuesday, New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, signed an executive order that will expand who will be covered by NYC’s Living Wage Law to include many more people and to push the wage up to $13.13 per hour. The previous minimum wage was $11.90 per hour.

The New York Times celebrated de Blasio’s push in a September 30th editorial, writing, “this promises to put much needed cash into many deserving pockets and to bolster the principle that someone who works hard in a full time job should at least be able to cover food and rent.”

Per the Mayor’s order, commercial tenants who get over $1 million in subsidies from the city will have to pay the living wage. The current law on the books, per the New York Times, is “riddled with exemptions and reaches only about 1,200 workers.” De Blasio’s order is not comprehensive: employees who work for non-profits and for businesses that bring in under $3 million a year in revenues may still be exempt. However, officials estimate that “around 18,000 workers will now be covered, many of them in fast food and retail jobs.”

We’re glad to see Mayor de Blasio pushing hard for the rights of workers, but a lot more work needs to be done in diverse industries to level the playing field. If you or someone you love has been struggling with a wage and hour issue — or has experienced harassment, discrimination, retaliation or other types of unfair or despicable treatment at work — the team here at Joseph & Kirschenbaum wants to know. Call us now at (212) 688-5640, or email us at to schedule a free consultation.

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