With a 9.7 percent unemployment rate, New York City needs new and innovative ways to put it’s residents back to work. Since 2009, I have administered and witnessed one such program called the “Wage Subsidy Employment Program” do just that. The results have been remarkable.
In 2009 various employment companies including America Works of New York, Inc., the company I work for, received increased funding to operate the Wage Subsidy Employment Program. This Subsidy program was infused with new life thanks to President Obama’s Stimulus package. The federal government gave stimulus money to the states. The State of New York gave a large sum of money to employment companies, through the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance. The State of New York gave these companies tremendous flexibility on how best to offer businesses the wage subsidy. These employment companies used that money to subsidize or defray the employers’ wage and fringe benefit costs.
Programs reach out to businesses throughout New York both small mom and pop shops and larger ones to learn how much they were paying their employees. For example if a bakery said they paid there bakers $10.00 per hour, the program advised them to hire one of our participants, keep them employed for two to three months and the program would pay half the employee’s salaries up to $12.00 per hour and half the fringe benefits.
All the employers have to do is show the program pay stubs or their payroll registers to prove these employees were still working. Instead of waiting months or years for a tax credit from the State or Federal government, the program hands them a check directly. Employers love this program. The impact of the wage subsidy did exactly what it said it was going to do. Employers began hiring two or three employees for every one person they hired without the subsidy.
The success of the Wage Subsidy was due in large part to the fact that the State of New York allowed the employment companies to work with the employment companies directly. When the City of New York and other municipalities attempted to act as the fiscal conduit the success rate of this program was much less.
The other success of this program was due in large part to the fact that the companies had some buy in rate. When the wage subsidy was offered to companies covering 100 percent of the wages and fringe benefits that employee was likely let go when the wage subsidy ended. When employment companies transitioned these employees over time onto the employers pay roll full time, the likelihood of the companies keeping these employees drastically increased.
•This wage subsidy has allowed America Works of New York to place 261 New York City residents into jobs since 2009.
•The average salary for people placed into these jobs was $12.09 per hour.
How The Wage Subsidy Works:
•The program will subsidize 50 percent of the employee’s wages up to $12.00 an hour for 20 hours a week of work. The subsidy will last up to 26 weeks.
•Total Cost = Up to $3,120.00 per employee ($6.00/hr x 20hrs a week x 26 weeks)
The remarkable thing about Wage Subsidy was how members of both the Democratic Party & Republican Party reacted to it. Members of both parties nationally have supported it on record. Most experts agree this program must be adopted by all branches of government now that the stimulus money has run out.
I urge our elected leaders to examine this program closely. I believe this program could put tens of thousands of New Yorkers Back To Work immediately.