Living Wage Division
Ensuring living wages for city contract employees.
Since 1997, the Boston Jobs, Living Wage and Prevailing Wage Ordinance (LWO) has served to create and keep livable wages in the City of Boston. This ordinance requires that all employees working on sizable city contracts earn an hourly wage that is enough for a family of four to live at or above the federal poverty level. This wage amount, called the living wage, is recalculated every year and is currently set at $16.38. This means that all vendors working on contracts with the City of Boston worth at least $25,000 are currently required to pay their employees a living wage of at least $16.38 per hour.
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How We Help
The Office of Labor Compliance and Worker Protections upholds the LWO by:
Making regular site visits to contractors subject to the LWO
Helping city contractors come into compliance with the LWO
Educating workers on their rights under the LWO
Investigating complaints of LWO violations
When the Office of Labor Compliance and Worker Protections receives a living wage complaint and confirms its merit, the division will conduct a site visit to the employer in question to inspect its payrolls. If the employer is in violation of the law, the Office may recommend sanctions and/or order back payment of wages. An employer who fails to come into compliance with the LWO can be fined up to $300 a day. The full follow-up procedures, as well as other compliance information, are detailed in the ordinance regulations.
File a living wage complaint
If you think your employer has unlawfully failed to pay you Boston’s living wage, please file a living wage complaint. A division representative will review your case and get back to you shortly.
Frequently Asked QuestionsFAQ's
Both contractors and sub-contractors must comply with the city’s living wage laws on city contracts worth $25,000 or more. If you suspect that your labor is contributing to a city contract, file a living wage complaint and we can research the city’s contracts to give you an answer.
No. When you file a living wage complaint, we will not ask for photo identification, citizenship documents, or any information regarding your immigration status. We will not report your status to any other government agency. Our only concern is that employers are held accountable for fairly compensating all workers
We will NOT notify your employer of your complaint without your express permission. The Boston Jobs and Living Wage Ordinance stipulates that “statements written or oral, made by an employee, shall be treated as confidential and shall not be disclosed to the Covered Vendor without the consent of the employee.”
Any form of retaliation – termination, wage reduction, demotion, or discrimination – is explicitly prohibited by the Boston Jobs and Living Wage Ordinance. If you believe your employer has retaliated against you for asserting your rights, file a living wage complaint and indicate the circumstances of the retaliation in the appropriate field. If our investigation reveals evidence of retaliation, we may recommend sanctions and/or order back payment of wages. An employer can be fined up to $300 a day.
Yes. If you have reason to believe that an employer contracted with the City of Boston, even if it is not your own, is unlawfully paying its employees less than the living wage, we want to hear about it.
LIVING WAGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
The Living Wage Advisory Committee (LWAC) is charged with reviewing the effectiveness of the Boston Jobs, Living Wage and Prevailing Wage Ordinance, its implementation and enforcement. The committee meets on a regular basis and its meetings are open to the public.
Employer ResourcesEmployer Resources
If you are an employer subject to the Boston Jobs and Living Wage Ordinance, you can find compliance forms here.