County Supervisors Announce Plan to Increase Living Wage for Dane County

August 18, 2016
County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan 608.333.2285
County Board

Today, Dane County Board Supervisors introduced a measure to put employees of Dane County contractors on the path to a $15 minimum wage.  Community advocates, labor leaders and state legislators stood with county officials in support of this new proposal.


Supervisor Jeff Pertl stated, “A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay, and our workers deserve a living wage that keeps families out of poverty and in affordable housing. In Dane County, workers, community advocates and county leaders came together to create a phased in $15 an hour living wage that will cover all county-funded workers, from respite care givers to food service workers. It is an amazing step forward and a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together. As the County Executive is fond of saying, ‘this is what we can accomplish when we do things the Dane County way.’”


“I work helping people with developmental disabilities live independently, in their own homes in our community. It is work that is meaningful and rewarding to me. Raising the wage will allow me, and I hope others, to keep on working in this field that I love,” said Ruun Mohamud, a direct support worker at Options in Community Living, one of Dane County’s contracted non-profit supported living agencies.


"With this measure, Dane County joins the efforts of millions of working families struggling for fair wages in exchange of the hard work they provide. The $15 per hour wage only starts addressing the big inequality between low income workers' wages and the increasing cost of living,” said Alex Gillis, C.M.R.J.B. Workers United.


Dane County will phase in the living wage increase over 6 years, reaching the $15 level in 2022; the living wage then will be indexed to inflation.  This process mirrors the approach adopted in New York and California.


Supervisor Jenni Dye, Chair of the Personnel & Finance Committee indicated she plans to schedule the measure for consideration at the Committee’s next meeting, “It’s time for Dane County to lead in the Fight for $15.“


The Dane County living wage ordinance applies to employees who provide direct services through a contract with the county, including general labor, clerical work, janitorial work, security, food service, human services contracts, personal care and home care work.


County ordinance currently sets the living hourly wage at 100 percent of the poverty level divided by 2,080 (the number of working hours in a year; 40 hours per week times 52 weeks). This proposal would raise that amount to $12.50 in 2017 and $.50 per hour each year until it reaches $15 in 2022.