Living Wage Certification Application

3 Steps to Becoming Living Wage Certified:


Determining eligibility . . .

In 2020, the basic requirement to become living wage certified is to pay your employees at least $15.50 an hour or $14.00 an hour with employer provided health insurance for employers in Buncombe County and $12.60 an hour for counties in WNC outside of Buncombe.


If you are a business or organization based in Buncome County - click here.


If your business/organization is in Transylvania County - click here.


If your buiness/organization is in Jackson County - click here. 


If your business/organization is in a WNC County OUTSIDE of Buncombe, Jackson or Transylvania - click here.


We recognize that there are many different types of employers, employees, and compensation and have rules and guidelines for dealing with different circumstances.  Please click here for common questions regarding living certification criteria and eligibility.


If you have additional questions, please contact Emma Hutchens or Vicki Meath at 828-505-7466.



Application and Fee . . .

Just Economics implemented an application fee to support the staff and infrastructure necessary to maintain this program. Fees are to be paid at the time of the application for certification or at the time of re-certification (re-certification is required every 2 years in order to remain in the program). After submitting your application you will be directed to a payment processing link. Your application will be processed once the fee is paid.

 For Buncomeb County, the fee is as follows:

  • Not-for-profit (non-profits, faith communities, etc):  NO FEE
  • Employers with 0-10 employees:  $50
  • Employers with 11-25 employees:  $100
  • Employers with 26-50 employees: $200
  • Employers with 51+:  $250


There is no application fee for employers outside of Buncombe County.

Another Option:

You can personally support the work of Just Economics by becoming an individual member of Just Economics.  Individual Membership is separate from becoming Living Wage Certified and does not affect your application for certification.  For more on the difference between Certification and Individual Membership click here.  Living Wage Certified Employers are offered discounted Individual Memberships to Just Economics for owners, employees, and relatives, click here to purchase Individual Memberships.


Receiving Your Certification . . .

Once you have submitted your application for certification and paid the application fee (if required), a Just Economics’ staff person will follow up with you to let you know if any additional information is required in determining your certification.  For example, if you have tipped employees, we may need to set up tipped employee interviews.  The Just Economics’ staff member will then report to the Just Economics’ Board of Directors.  The JE board meets the third Tuesday of every month and approves applications for certification.  Following the Board meeting, you will receive notification of your certification status.  After approval you will be added to our on-line and printed directory, and you will receive a packet with your certification sticker, certificate and other certification information.  Living Wage Certification is good for two years and your business/organization will be required to re-certify upon expiration.

Cick here for Jackson County Living Wage Certification

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