N.O. Civil Service Plans for $15/Hour Minimum Wage

NEW ORLEANS  – The New Orleans Civil Service Department announced that it is officially recommending a plan for a new pay structure where the lowest salary for city employees would be $15 an hour. The pay plan is due by Sept. 1 per the ordinance issued by the City Council.

 “We are excited that the Council and administration are supportive of moving entry level salaries forward and modernizing the overall city pay scale to help position the City of New Orleans as an employer of choice,” said Amy Trepagnier, personnel director for New Orleans Civil Service. “Increasing the minimum wage will make our recruiting efforts for city government positions more competitive because the salaries will be more attractive to potential applicants. At the same time, it will improve the city’s employee retention.”

Trepagnier said the approximately 800 job classification pay plan must be executed in a fair and equitable way across departments and employment levels, so the pay shift will be implemented across other positions beyond the entry level. If the plan passes, she said, it could be implemented in 2022 or over the next couple of years. Currently about 400 city employees are compensated below the $15 hour level.

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“The current minimum threshold of $11 per hour is comparatively low when looking at other cities. What we are crafting is a new structure that can achieve a goal of a higher minimum wage while also maintaining the constitutional requirement of an equitable pay plan,” Trepagnier said. “It’s a complex deliverable and a true art and science to develop a plan like this that will succeed, but the administration and the council are committed to this important city civil service pay initiative.”

The City Council is expected to make a decision on implementing the plan in some form by the fall of 2021, Trepagnier said.

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