Workers in the Fast Food Industry in New York City received a minimum wage increase to $13.50 per hour today, the last day of 2017. Other minimum wage workers, including EMTs, received an increase to $13.00 per hour.
Think about that for a minute…
…let it sink in…
…and suddenly that application for a fast food restaurant if you failed to pass your EMT orientation doesn’t seem like such a bad option after all.
Not only does it require more training to qualify as an EMT or Paramedic, the job itself is more labor-intensive. Picking people up, moving them, carrying them up and down stairs, and putting them back down all day long; when it comes to carrying things, construction workers often have an easier time, with better equipment and lighter loads that don’t require medical attention.
So what should an EMT earn per hour? Based on my own experience earning $10.00 per hour in 1995 as a new EMT at a private company, and adjusting for inflation using the CPI calculator, $16.41 has the equivalent buying power, as of November 2017. Private EMS agencies operating in New York City, it’s safe to say, should be starting their EMTs at $16.50.
Of course, meeting that rate is a significant challenge for agencies, because while New York State was kind enough to raise the wages of workers, they refuse to raise the Medicaid reimbursement rates for ambulances and are being sued over that negligence. So while fast food chains can offset the wage increase by raising the prices of Big Macs and Whoppers, ambulance services are unable to do the same.
So what should a New York City EMT expect to earn as an hourly wage for 2018 in the private sector?
Honestly, while it still lacks the same buying power I had in 1995, I think $15.00 per hour is a reasonable expectation to have. There will be some companies that go above that, and they should be applauded. There will be some companies that go below that, and they should be ashamed for it and ultimately no one should be willing to work for them. If you do, then you’re a big part of the problem contributing to the low wages EMTs and Paramedics are paid for their services.
Those of you outside of New York City may be shocked by how high the above-mentioned hourly rates are, but keep in mind, the cost of living here is much higher than in most other areas.
What are your thoughts on the increase to Fast Food Workers? If you’re a NYC EMT working for a private ambulance company and earning less than $15.00 per hour, we’d love to hear from you… contact us with the details…