Categories: New York City
On November 14th, NYC Council approved Intro 1321C, legislation that requires developers of certain affordable housing projects to pay the prevailing wage to building service employees. The Mayor is expected to approve the bill. This requirement will go into effect 120 days after it becomes law.
The full bill text and a short description are available on the City Council’s website.
In City-initiated rezoned areas or at sites subject to separate negotiations, prevailing wage may still apply if the building does not meet conditions specified by 1321C. Please check in with HPD for specific guidance on your deal.
Below are pertinent aspects of the final bill.
- The prevailing wage is determined by the NYC Comptroller, and listed here.
- Building service employee is defined as “any person, the majority of whose employment consists of performing building service work, including but not limited to a watchperson, guard, doorperson, building cleaner, porter, handyperson, janitor, gardener, groundskeeper, stationary fireman, elevator operator and starter, or window cleaner.”
- The prevailing wage requirement is extended to affordable housing developments receiving City financial assistance of $1 million or more and containing 120 or more residential units.
- Exempted from prevailing wage are:
- Health + Hospitals projects;
- Supportive housing: residences with 50 percent supportive units, the other 50 percent of the units must average 80% AMI and under;
- Buildings, or groups of buildings, 119 units and under.
- “Protected wage” requires building staff earn at least what they were earning when the preservation agreement was signed, plus “an annual increase to account for any change in the cost of living and cost of receiving benefits.”
- The Mayor will designate an agency to promulgate rules on how that is calculated.
- Preservation projects are subject to protected wage. Preservation projects mean:
- A residential project 119 units or under; or
- An existing residential project serving average 50% AMI and receiving financial assistance, either:
- Solely in the form of a tax benefit, or
- Averaging less than $35,000 per residential unit.
- Does not include supportive housing projects.
- Public housing conversions from Sec. 9 to Sec. 8 are exempted from both prevailing and protected wage.
Following the City Council vote, the Network and its partners, NYSAFAH, Human Services Council, LiveOn NY, and Homeless Services United, issued this statement:
While we applaud the Council’s concern about raising wages for low-income workers, we are concerned that, without significant new City subsidy to pay for these raises, the vote today will disproportionally impact affordable housing projects that serve the lowest income New Yorkers, including those experiencing homelessness. We ask that the next budget include additional funding to allow projects in the pipeline to afford prevailing wages, so that the City’s record level of production remains on track. We also ask that the Council take up the issue of the even-lower incomes earned by the caseworkers and other human service workers under City contracts.
Please feel free to reach out to us with questions, concerns, and thoughts about this legislation and its implementation. Please contact Rebecca Sauer, Director of Policy and Planning at the Network.