New Orleans Living Wage Ordinance takes effect January 1

by P.J. Kee

Employers doing business with the city of New Orleans must pay employees at least $10.10 per hour and provide them at least seven days of paid leave per year after the city’s living wage law takes effect January 1.

The ordinance applies to city contractors, subcontractors, and grant recipients. A “contractor” is covered “if it enters into one or more city contracts where the annual value of payments under all such city contracts is (or is projected to be) $25,000 or more.” A “subcontractor” is covered during the time it is associated with a covered contractor or grant recipient. A “grant recipient,” also termed a “beneficiary,” is any person or entity that receives more than $100,000 in municipal funds “for the purpose of promoting economic development, community development, job retention, or job growth.”

The ordinance also covers “subtenants,” which are defined as “any tenant or leaseholder of a [beneficiary] that uses or occupies property that is the subject of [city financial assistance]” for the time it is associated with a beneficiary.

The ordinance will require covered employers to pay employees at least $10.10 per hour (the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour) for all work related to a city contract or any work that takes place on property that receives municipal funding. If the employer “cannot determine which of its employees perform work relating to a city contract, all of its employees” must be paid $10.10 per hour.

A violation of the ordinance is a civil infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 plus all costs of the action. Each day a violation occurs will constitute a separate violation. The ordinance also prohibits retaliation.

In addition, the ordinance provides employees a private claim. An employee may sue not only for the difference in pay he should have received but also for injunctive relief to prohibit future violations.

For more information on the New Orleans Living Wage Ordinance, see the September issue of Louisiana Employment Law Letter.

P.J. Kee is an attorney with Jones Walker LLP in New Orleans, Louisiana. He can be reached at