Chapel Hill, NC, Aug. 1, 2022 – In recent weeks, Orange County Living Wage (OCLW) has recertified the Town of Carrboro and Town of Chapel Hill as living wage employers, and 337 workers will share a total annual wage increase of $500,000 as a result.
Carrboro’s recertification represents a total annual wage increase of $450,000 for 226 employees, while Chapel Hill’s points to a total wage increase of $50,000 for 111 employees. Both towns first became certified as living wage employers in 2016. When a business or organization is certified as a living wage employer, their certification is good for two years and then they can re-apply.
“As economic inequality worsens, we need an even stronger commitment to broadly shared economic prosperity. I’m proud to say that, by recertifying as a living wage employer, the Town of Carrboro is continuing to act according to the community’s values, set an example for other employers, and most importantly, invest in the well-being of all our employees,” said Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils.
The Town of Hillsborough, Orange County Government, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are also certified as living wage employers.
OCLW’s 2022 living wage for hourly workers is $15.85 an hour, or $14.35 for employers who pay at least half of employees’ health insurance costs. The nonprofit adjusts the living wage annually to keep pace with rising rents.
OCLW determines its living wage by using the widely accepted Universal Living Wage Formula based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standard that no more than 30% of a worker’s gross income should be devoted to housing. To calculate the wage, OCLW uses the average cost of a one-bed apartment in a four-county area including Alamance, Chatham, Durham, and Orange counties.
The 243 employers on OCLW’s current roster employ more than 8,500 employees in Orange County.
“It is important to the Town of Chapel Hill that our staff members are able to thrive both professionally and personally,” said Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger. “Providing a living wage is one way that we, as an employer, can help support the well-being of our employees and their families. It also demonstrates that we value and appreciate the jobs that our dedicated workers do for our community.”
When a business or organization certifies as a living wage employer, OCLW calculates the total amount they raised wages to meet the living wage threshold. Since 2015, that totals $2.7 million – money that is often spent in Orange County.
See Orange County Living Wage’s full directory of certified living wage employers, view postings on its living wage jobs board, or apply to become a certified living wage employer at orangecountylivingwage.org.