In the wake of its announced minimum wage increase in early December, Coastal Credit Union took the additional step of having its Carrboro branch certified by Orange County Living Wage just before the New Year. The two-year certification by OCLW ensures that all employees make a minimum $12.75 per hour, which is the 2016 standard for employer certification.
A voluntary non-profit organization, OCLW focuses on promoting a living wage in Orange County, North Carolina. Through its voluntary employer certification program it certifies Orange County employers that pay their employees a living wage.
OCLW sets the living wage for Orange County by calculating housing costs in and around Orange County over a four year period. The hourly wage is set each year based on the idea that a person should pay no more than 30% of their budget on housing, which a widely-accepted standard.
Coastal is the 100th Orange County business to be certified by the group. “It seems only fitting,” shared OCLW Board Chair Susan Romaine. ” While new to Orange County after opening its Carrboro branch in 2015, Coastal has been a longstanding partner in the Triangle community supporting non-profit organizations and those who are financially vulnerable. We are thrilled to have Coastal bring us over the top as OCLW’s 100th living wage employer.”
“We felt it was time for Coastal to take the initiative to help our employees by providing a higher minimum wage consistent with Coastal’s core values allowing us to retain the best of the best in the business,” CEO Chuck Purvis said.
In addition to seeing a living wage as an employee retention tool, the credit union also made and publicly announced the change to encourage other businesses to consider similar steps.
In addition to OCLW, living wage certification groups are active in Asheville through Just Economics, as well as Durham through the Durham Living Wage Project. Several co-ops in all three of these locations are living wage certified.