In June 2023, we became a certified living wage employer by Orange County Living Wage!

OCLW is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit that certifies, recognizes, and promotes local businesses that pay their employees a living wage and assists workers seeking living wage jobs in the community.

OCLW partners with employers, residents, and workers in the community to create a more just and sustainable local economy!

What does it mean to be living wage certified?

A “living wage” is the minimum amount that workers must earn to afford basic necessities without public or private assistance. Living wages are intended to meet the basic needs of a single person working in Orange County, North Carolina.

North Carolina is one of the 19 states who has held the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This has not changed since 2009, despite a 20% increase in NC cost of living and a core inflation total of 39.53%. This discrepancy leaves many individuals and families struggling to make ends meet and being forced to make difficult choices between groceries, transportation, medication, and paying bills. If these workers earned a living wage, rather than the legal minimum of $7.25 per hour, many would be lifted out of poverty.

A living wage certified business pays all of their employees at least the 2023 living wage of $16.60 per hour, or $15.10 per hour if they also pay at least half the cost of health insurance. This means that you can feel confident that our therapists and staff are being provided proper compensation for the incredible work they do!

Why does this matter?


  • Being paid a living wage pulls working families out of poverty
  • Living wage employers see less turnover and more employee productivity
  • Lifting pay boosts the local economy: each dollar earned in Orange County adds at least $1.21 directly spent in our county

How can you help support the living wage economy?

The main way to show your support for living wage businesses is to become a patron! OCLW provides a directory of local certified employers.

For example, instead of being loyal to big coffee corporations like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts (who don’t pay a living wage), you can support local coffee shops like B3 Coffee, Breakaway Cafe, Gray Squirrel Coffee CoCaffe Driade, Carrboro Coffee Roasters, The Meantime Coffee Co., or Open Eye Cafe.

You can also follow OCLW on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for special events they organize to support certified employers. 

If you are interested in volunteering with OCLW, head over to their website to learn more about various volunteer opportunities!

By Amanda Pahl