Living wage ordinances apply primarily to certain service contractors (and sometimes their subcontractors) doing business with a city or county government, contractors who receive financial assistance from the city or county, and/or city or county employees. Some ordinances require that both part-time and full-time workers be paid the living wage, and some refer only to particular types of jobs, such as healthcare workers, food service workers, janitors, security guards, landscapers, or clerical workers.
Because some ordinances include provisions for automatic increases in the hourly wage rate on particular dates, or adjustments as a result of changes in the federal poverty level, employers should always determine the current requirements--even if they have done business with the same city in the past. Depending on the ordinance requirements, the city might be obligated to notify contractors of the change in writing before an increase takes effect.
Living wage ordinances are gaining in popularity. There are approximately 200 living wage ordinances in effect. Although a majority of those ordinances have been implemented in cities and counties, a handful of universities, school boards, and other jurisdictions have also adopted living wage ordinances.
Local grassroots organizations made up of coalitions of community and labor organizations, dubbed the national living wage movement, seek to pass local ordinances requiring private businesses that benefit from public money to pay their workers a living wage. Commonly, the ordinances cover employers that hold large city or county service contracts or receive substantial financial assistance from the city in the form of grants, loans, bond financing, tax ...