About Us

Orange County Living Wage is a volunteer-driven 501(c)3 nonprofit working to promote a living wage in Orange County, North Carolina.

Through our employer certification program, we recognize local businesses and organizations who pay the 2022 living wage of $15.85 per hour, or $14.35 per hour if the employer pays at least half the cost of health insurance.

Inspired by the success of the nation’s leading living wage certification program, Asheville’s Just Economics, OCLW formed in 2015 to address the effects of the state’s unrealistically low wage floor: the $7.25 federal minimum wage, which has not changed since 2009.

To date, living wage employers have given raises to more than 1700 employees in Orange County in order to qualify for certification.

OCLW certified our first employer in July of 2015, and six years later, we’re proud to have certified close to 300 living wage employers, who collectively have raised wages more than $1,800,000 for workers. We have re-certified 80% of our employers once their initial two-year certification expires. Our current certified employer directory includes restaurants, hair salons, automotive shops, breweries, nonprofits, local governments, churches, plumbers, and more.

Our goals are to:

  • Reward and recognize employers based in Orange County who pay their workers a living wage
  • Provide employers with incentives to pay a living wage
  • Connect members of the community to living wage certified employers and encourage them to support those businesses and organizations
  • Increase awareness of wage inequality and continually certify more living wage employers in our community

OCLW partners with employers, residents, and workers in the community to create a more just and sustainable local economy that works for all. We welcome participation in our work from all members of the community.