In June, the Durham City Council approved a plan to have all full-time city employees make a $15-an-hour minimum wage by 2019. Now the Durham County Board of Commissioners looks poised to follow suit.
On October 4, during the board’s work session, a resolution amending the county’s minimum wage will be presented to the board. The $15-an-hour wage would apply to all “full and part-time employees of the County, including seasonal and employees in the job placement program with the County.”
The $15 figure is determined by a “Minimum Living Wage” equation—which places the wage at least 7.5 percent “above the Federal Poverty Guidelines, as defined by the [U.S. Census Bureau], for a family of four.”
In 2015, that threshold was $24,257, according to the Census Bureau’s data. The county’s area median household income is $52,038, and the city’s is $49,585. (The national median household income is $52,482.)
With the wage calculation in hand, the county manager then sets the minimum wage—in this case, county manager Wendell Davis has set it at $15 for 2016–17. Previously, the minimum livable wage was $13.35.
The wage would be effective October 4, 2016, according to the resolution included in the meeting’s agenda packet.
The county is also mirroring the city’s work in making Veteran’s Day as an observed, paid holiday, as well including three days for Christmas.
Other changes commissioners will discuss at the meeting include providing paid time off for the birth of an employee’s child or the placement of a foster or adopted child with an employee. The leave policy is also set to be amended, which would allow for employees to apply for leave “when faced with any injury or illness.” Previously, employees could only apply for leave following a “catastrophic illness/injury” that left the person unable to work for a “prolonged time.”