23 Sep 2019 @ 11 a.m.
Oakland County’s minimum wage may soon increase to $15 per hour.
On Wednesday, the board of commissioners will consider approving a change to the county’s salary plan, which includes the addition of a $15 per hour minimum wage.
This would immediately impact 173 county government employees currently making between $13.55 and $14.99 per hour and includes all full-time and most part-time positions. If approved, the new minimum wage will be integrated into the FY 2020 budget and begin with the Sept. 28 pay period. The estimated cost to increase the minimum wage is $558,814.
The lowest hourly wage for full-time county employees is $13.55 per hour, according to Lori Taylor, deputy human resources director. Currently, 45 of the county’s 3,571 full-time employees make less than $15 per hour.
Oakland County Executive David Coulter said all families deserve a living wage and that a $15 minimum hourly wage for the county’s employees is “a step in that direction.”
On May 8, a group of board democrats, including Board Chair David Woodward (D-Royal Oak) introduced a resolution seeking to make this change. Since then, the resolution has been tweaked to include most part-time positions and will be considered by the board for approval on Wednesday. On Monday, the legislative affairs and government operations committee approved the measure, 4-1.
Woodward said raising workers wages for workers at the bottom rung of the economic ladder has long been a priority for board Democrats. He said the extra $1 to $2 per hour will make a difference for many of these workers in saying “those are extra dollars to pay for rent, student loans, or to meet your basic needs.”
“As Democrats, we firmly believe that economic opportunity should be afforded to everyone,” he said. “It’s not just the right thing to do, but the moral thing to do. In this particular case, we were looking at full-time positions only, but over time we noticed that the county has full-time positions being filled with part-time work. It felt it was only fair to treat these workers the same. That’s why the new plan includes part timers as well.”
The lowest part-time seasonal positions start at $9.66 per hour, according to Taylor. These positions will not be affected by the minimum wage increase, but will receive a two-percent general increase when the budget is approved.
Woodward said the parks and recreation department should continue to evaluate their seasonal wages to make sure they’re not a barrier to attracting applicants, more specifically lifeguards.
“For those employees who aren’t captured under (this minimum wage increase), I think there needs to be a serious conversation of raising wages,” he said.
Commissioner Angela Powell (D-Pontiac), an original resolution sponsor, said if you work full-time, you shouldn’t be living in poverty. She said the county is leading by example with this change.
Below are the list of job classifications that will be affected by the wage increase:
- Animal census leader: 1
- Animal shelter attendant: 2
- Building safety attendant: 1
- Bus driver: 5
- Clerk: 5
- Clerk II delivery person: 2
- College intern: 25
- General clerical: 25
- General helper: 25
- Lactation specialist: 2
- Maintenance laborer: 2
- Office assistant I: 41
- Second cook: 14
- Student: 23
- Total employees: 173
Below is a list of job classifications, all seasonal, that will not be impacted by the wage increase. There are 386 budgeted summer/seasonal positions.
- Food service worker
- Head lifeguard
- Parks helper
- Parks and Recreation program leader
- Seasonal horticultural advisor
- Seasonal laborer
- Seasonal program leader
- Seasonal program specialist
- Summer animal census worker
- Summer business assistant
- Summer business clerk
- Summer criminal justice casework assistant
- Summer health education assistant
- Summer shift laborer
The board is also expected to approve the county’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget on Wednesday, which totals $922 million.