Wake County Approves Living Wage

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Nov 17, 2015

The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to adopt a policy ensuring county workers earn a living wage.

“This initiative will have a significant impact on the employees here in Wake and speaks to what we value as important as a Wake County Commissioners,” says Commissioner Sig Hutchinson.

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Read Commissioner Sig Hutchinson Remarks:

I am so proud to be here today supporting something that I feel deeply about and that is in the best interest of our community. A living wage is so important not only to the citizens and their family that will be impacted by this boost to their paycheck, but it’s also good for the economy, good for the community and good for employers.

It’s creating higher paying jobs at will allow those employees to spend more money within our economy supporting small businesses and their workers. It’s good for business owners by allowing them to increase employee retention, and recruit better staff workers compared to their lower paying competitors. It also helps with absenteeism as now employees have more money to pay for car repairs and doctors’ visits to stay healthy.

It’s good for family who can now put more food on the tables for their kids, which is important when you consider that 1 in 5 children in Wake County suffer from food insecurity or worrying about not having enough to eat, which is never acceptable to me. No child should ever go hungry in Wake County.

It’s good for communities where more money stays right here in Wake circulating through out economy supporting our businesses and employees.

This initiative will have a significant impact on the 75 employees here in Wake and speaks to what we value as important as a Wake County Commissioners.

We also want to start a larger conversation with employers in the private and nonprofit sectors around what it would take to elevate their employees and staff to a living wage. What we found in Wake was that once we looked at it closely, it was not as expensive as we have anticipated. And as employers look at  all the benefits of recruitment, retention, and reduced absenteeism, as well as branding around a company who supports their staff and believes in the values around a living wage, we believe that many will make the decision that a living wage makes economic sense.

We look forward to engaging the community in a conversation about the value of a living wage and to see if can help create an organization that can certify living wage employers like there are in Durham and Orange Counties.

Mostly though, today we are here to celebrate. We are here to celebrate the full time Wake county employees that will benefit from a living wage and what it will mean to them and their families. We are here to speak boldly that the Wake County Commissions values paying workers a fair and living wage. We are here to state clearing that a living wage is good for Employers, Employees, Family, Communities, and the Economy. I stand today with my fellow Commissioners, these organizations, workers and staff at Wake County to say we are proud to support a Living Wage both in  principle as well as in practice.