CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- While the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 for the last decade, cities across the country have set their own rates. For those wanting change, $15 an hour is regarded as the new minimum, but even that might not be enough to live off.
- A single person making about $26,000 a year can do OK, but if you add children, the minimum living wage jumps to $24 or $28 an hour.
- Raleigh is the most expensive, requiring an annual income of more than $60,000 for a single parent of two to make ends meet.
- Winston-Salem is the most affordable. A single person earning about $11 an hour could get by.
Charlotte city employees could soon see more cash, a boost of more than $2,000 a year for some workers.
“That's equivalent of a 6.7% increase for our lowest paid employees. The objective here is to move them up in terms of upward mobility,” city manager Marcus Jones said.
In the new budget, city workers would earn a minimum of $16 an hour. Of the five biggest cities in the state: Durham is moving to $15.46 in July, Greensboro is at $15, Winston-Salem city employees earn as little as $12.50 an hour with plans to go to $15 in 2021. Right now, Raleigh pays its workers a minimum of $13.76.
“Depending on your family size and composition, what's considered a living wage can range from $12 if you're a single adult to nearly $30 or above $30 an hour for a single parent with children,” Liana Humphrey with Crisis Assistance Ministry said.
MIT's Living Wage Calculator breaks it down:
In Charlotte, a single person making about $26,000 a year can do OK, but if you add children, the minimum living wage jumps to $24 or $28 an hour.
Raleigh is the most expensive, requiring an annual income of more than $60,000 for a single parent of two to make ends meet.
Winston-Salem is the most affordable. A single person earning about $11 an hour could get by, but if they had one child, then they would need to earn at least $23 an hour to make a living wage.
Crisis Assistance Ministry serves more than 50,000 people a year, many who work but just don't make enough. Humphrey says Charlotte's proposed pay increase may not provide a living wage for all its employees but she says it's a start.
The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 is making its way through Congress which would raise the minimum wage across the country to $15 an hour over the next six years.
In Charlotte, city council is expected to debate the new budget with this wage hike Wednesday with a vote coming sometime in June.