A Statement from Henry Street Settlement
By Henry Street Settlement
On March 22, 2022, Henry Street Settlement announced that, as of July 1, it would raise its wage floor to $22 per hour, or 50 percent above the New York minimum wage. Following is the memo sent by CEO David Garza to all team members, announcing this historic increase:
A Step Toward Equity for Henry Street
Historically, many of our hardworking, dedicated team members have earned a wage that is set by government contracts or informed by state and local minimum-wage requirements. To our longstanding frustration, this wage has not kept pace with inflation, and it falls short of putting our valued employees in a position to afford their basic needs.
A significant percentage of Henry Streeters fall into this category, and we cannot continue to live with this reality any longer. Therefore, starting July 1, 2022, the minimum hourly rate at Henry Street Settlement will be raised to $22.00/hour—an action taken after thoughtful reflection on our values and mission.
Henry Street Settlement is, at its core, a poverty-fighting organization. Our mission is to help people reach their full potential, whatever that takes, and it is no secret that having enough money is the first prerequisite to food, housing, health care, transportation, stability, and to expressing one’s full humanity.
One of the most important ways we can reflect this value is to pay a fair and livable wage to our own team. By committing to paying higher wages to our lowest paid employees, Henry Street is addressing pay disparities and helping everyone on our team meet their basic needs. Our belief is that no one should unnecessarily struggle to make ends meet.
Why $22.00? A number of economists and policy institutes maintain living-wage calculators, which use research and social data to estimate the wage rate needed to meet minimum living standards in a given region or community (e.g., the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Living Wage Calculator, Economic Policy Institute Family Budget Calculator, University of Washington Self-Sufficiency Standard). Based on these tools, conversations with experts, and Henry Street’s compensation and benefits coverage, we have determined that $22.00 per hour is an estimated minimum hourly wage a single working adult needs to afford food, medical expenses, housing, transportation, taxes, and other basic living expenses in New York City. These are basic costs of living for every resident of NYC, regardless of their type of job, position, seniority, or skill set. This will set Henry Street’s minimum wage at 1.5 times greater than the current NYC minimum wage.
Dignity, Equity, and Appreciation We are aware that many of our own team members feel the effects of longstanding income and asset gaps driven by racism and social inequality. Henry Street has long played a leading role in advocacy efforts, such as #JustPay and Fight for $15, to increase the wages granted through city contracts. However, we feel that we can’t wait any longer for the city to take action. It is both within our ability and our moral imperative to take a step to address this disparity. Paying everyone on our team a “living wage” reinforces and reflects our commitment to equity.
Increasing our minimum hourly rate will benefit everyone at the Settlement. Organizations that pay a living wage have increased employee retention, engagement, and morale. Our community benefits from having a healthy, thriving workforce. Paying everyone on our team a living wage will enable Henry Street to serve our community more effectively.