Announcing The Stuart Bethune REACH program to Reach Employers Aspiring to Certify (with) Help from our community of leading living-wage employers.


As of February 2018, 142 employers have certified with Orange County Living Wage (OCLW) as living wage employers and have cumulatively raised wages more than $641,000. They have given a powerful financial boost to employees in our community and to our local economy. Momentum continues to build for living wages in Orange County, with all municipalities, County government, both public school systems, and dozens of for-profit and non-profit employers certifying as living-wage employers.


However, we know it’s not a simple matter for employers to increase wages. Business landscapes are shifting in an era of Amazon and online marketing. Paying health insurance and taxes can eat into very thin margins. We get that. We also believe that every employer wants to do right by their employees, yet, sometimes the numbers don’t add up to living wages.


If you want to pay living wages to your employees in the future but can’t meet the OCLW 2018 wage criteria – $13.70 for employees without employer-offered health insurance and $12.20 with health insurance – we’d still like to work with you.


OCLW is launching a new program for employers who aspire to pay living wages but aren’t quite there yet. The Stuart Bethune REACH program is a new effort to foster conversation between OCLW and “aspiring” living wage employers. We want to hear about your challenges to increasing wages. And, with the help of our certified OCLW employers, we’ll share local success stories around living wages and offer strategies to put your organization on a path towards paying them.


Our first REACH meeting will take place in April 2018. If you're interested, and your wage structure is close to our qualifying wage criteria, we want to hear from you. Please contact OCLW's certification coordinator, Rachel Mehalek, at 


Thanks for joining us in this important employer networking and community building project.

Susan Romaine, Chair

Orange County Living Wage Steering Committee