Just Economics, a local nonprofit organization most known for promoting living wages, announces an increase in the local living wage rate for 2013. Just Economics uses a formula based on the local cost of living to determine the local living wage rate and how that wage rate is adjusted. The organization’s mission is to educate, advocate, and organize for a just and sustainable local economy that works for all in Western North Carolina. Just Economics promotes living wages through policy advocacy, a living wage employer certification program, and community education.
Although the rate has not changed since 2008, the formula, which is based on the cost of living in our area, dictates a rate change in 2013. The new rate reflects a roughly 4.5% increase over the previous rate. The new rate will be $11.85/hr for those employees that are not offered employer provided health insurance and $10.35 /hr for those that are offered employer provided health insurance.
The wage rate change will have the most direct impact on the organization’s Living Wage Employer Certification Program. Just Economics organizes the largest Living Wage Employer Certification program in the nation, with over 300 local businesses in WNC committing to pay a Living Wage to their staff. Living Wage Certified Employers were notified of the wage rate change in December but will have some time to make adjustments in their wages scale.
In essence, the rate is increasing 50 cents an hour, up from the $11.35/hr for employees not offered health insurance and $9.85/hr for those receiving employer provided health Insurance that have been in place since the program’s inception.
Business owners up for recertification in 2013 can opt to sign up for a two year certification at the new rate or keep the current rate for the remainder of 2013 and make the necessary adjustments and apply for re-certification in 2014.