Criteria and Program

Employers certified in 2019 must pay at least $14.25/hour to all regular full- and part-time employees. For employers providing health insurance the threshold is $12.75/hour.

All tipped, commissioned, and variable pay rate employees must be paid at least the living wage rate. Employers and employees are interviewed to verify that pay, at living wages, is consistently earned so that our certification requirements are met.

Interns, apprentices, temporary and project-based employees, minors working part time, probationary employees, and independent contractors paid via a 1099 are not included.

Living Wage Certified Employers need to certify eligibility every two years in order to remain on our list of Certified Living Wage Employers. The hourly rate in place for the year certified applies for their employees for two years.

For example, if an employer certified May 1, 2017, the certification period is May 1, 2017 thru May 1, 2019 and employers must pay at least the 2017 rate for that period. Re-certification is required on or before May 1, 2019 and will be at the 2019 hourly rate.

Orange County Living Wage has a form available on our website for any employee of certified employers who wish to report a concern. The form can be completed online and can be submitted anonymously. Go to and click on FOR EMPLOYEES.

Certified businesses and organizations are publicized in print and social media, on the Orange County Living Wage web site, and in other ways.  

Certified businesses and organizations receive a decal to post at their office or store, poster, car magnets, and a certificate suitable for framing. We encourage certified employers to use our logo on their website and to cite their certification in their marketing materials.