NYC gives 9% raises over three years to human services workers

The annual cost-of-living bump comes after advocates rallied and pushed for pay increases

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Mayor Eric Adams

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Mayor Eric Adams John McCarten NYC Council Media Unit

More than 80,000 nonprofit workers specializing in human service professions will get a 9% raise over the next three years, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Council Speaker Adrienne Adams announced on Friday.

The city will invest $741 million for the pay increases and to provide 3% annual cost-of-living adjustments. Nonprofit workers providing a wide array of services, such as substance abuse prevention, running emergency homeless shelters and after-school programs, as well as free meal deliveries will benefit from the increase. The city’s nonprofit workforce has been overwhelmingly represented by women and people of color, and is the second lowest paid, just ahead of restaurant workers. 

“Human services touch almost everyone’s lives on a daily basis, and we have nonprofits reporting 30 to 40, even upwards 50% open vacancy rates. So they’re having a really hard time generating talent and keeping talent because they can go work in other industries that are probably a little lower stress and pay more. So this helps to reverse that,” said Michelle Jackson, executive director of the Human Services Council.

The administration also has cleared a $6 million backlog of payments owed to nonprofits through the "Clear the Backlog Initiative,” a recommendation made by the Joint Task Force to Get Nonprofits Paid on Time. 

“When we think about the low pay and the fact that these organizations, which are absolutely essential, we would contract with them for services and just not pay them for over a year, [is] really unconscionable,’ said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “So, one of the biggest priorities, and this was really directed from the mayor, was to make sure that we clear that backlog.”