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March 14, 2024 – Mayor Adams Announces 3 Year COLA for Human Services

In an effort to prioritize the well-being of the city’s human services workforce, NYC Mayor Eric Adams has announced a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that will provide a 3% annual increase, totaling $741 million, in pay for human services workers over the next three years beginning July 1, 2024.

This move comes as a response to advocacy efforts by organizations such the Human Services Council (HSC), a coalition comprising 170 entities within New York’s non-profit services sector, including Union Settlement.

Dr. Darlene Williams, President & CEO at Union Settlement, was in attendance during the announcement. Dr. Williams is a member of the HSC’s Priority and Strategy Council, which spearheaded the “#justpay” campaign. This campaign shed light on the low wages that New York City’s 80,000 human services workers have endured due to underfunded contracts, with statistics revealing a troubling 30% pay gap compared to their counterparts in the public sector. In 2019, two-thirds of all full-time human services workers were earning below the city’s near-poverty threshold. This has a significant impact on women and minorities — 66% of human services workers are female (66%), 68% are full-time workers of color, and nearly half (46%) are women of color.

Dr. Williams emphasized the importance of this COLA, stating, “Our dedicated staff, alongside countless other human service workers throughout New York City, devote themselves to caring for our communities, yet they have not received the care they deserve. While this marks just one step forward, it is a crucial stride toward establishing fair compensation for our tireless workforce.”

This announcement highlights New York City’s commitment to creating a supportive and equitable environment for its human services workers, ensuring that they can continue to provide high-quality care and support to those who need it most. Including today’s announcement, the administration has invested over $1.4 billion towards wage enhancements for the human services sector.