Why Living Wage?

Living wages benefit workers, employers, and the local community at large.

The living wage movement is based on the premise that wages should keep workers and their families above a minimum standard of living. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has not changed since 2009, leaving many workers struggling to make ends meet. With salaries at or even a few dollars above minimum wage, each day workers in Orange County are forced to make difficult choices such as buying food or paying rent, filling a prescription or the gas tank. If these workers earned a living wage, rather than the legal minimum of $7.25 per hour, many would be lifted out of poverty.

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has not changed since 2009, leaving many workers struggling to make ends meet.

A living wage helps attract employees and keeps them on the job. Turnover falls when employers offer a living wage, and workers who stay tend to be more productive. Many living wage employers also note better morale, attendance, customer relations, and productivity.

Lifting pay boosts business and the local economy. The states that have raised their minimum wage are adding jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. And low-wage workers tend to spend nearly every dollar they earn for goods and services closer to home. Every extra dollar going into the pockets of low-wage workers has the potential to add even more to the regional economy. A conservative multiplier suggests that each dollar earned in Orange County adds at least $1.21 directly spent in our county.