2024 Certifications

2024 Certifications

The 2024 Living Wage Rate and Certification Application for Buncombe County employers for 2024 is $22.10/hr, and the pledged rate is $19.00/hr with a commitment to raise wages 3% plus inflation each additional year until the living wage for that year is met. Employers previously living wage certified have until the end of their recertification period to make adjustments. Recertification will begin in March.

Employers in Western North Carolina beyond Buncombe County who wish to become Certified Living Wage Employers must pay an hourly rate of $16.40/hr.

1. Determine Your Eligibility

To apply, you must meet the Living Wage Rate requirements.

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 Sam Stites at 828-505-7466 or

2. Application and Fee

For Buncombe 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+ employees:  $250

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

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.

Join as a Member

Alternatively, you can personally support the work of Just Economics as an individual by joining as member. (Individual members are not listed in the directory.)

Apply now for a Living Wage Certification

Buncombe County Living Wage Certification Application

All other WNC Counties

3. Receiving Your Certification

Just Economics Living Wage Certification logo

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.  Leading Living Wage Certification is good for two years and your business/organization will be required to re-certify upon expiration. Living Wage Pledged Certification is re-evaluated yearly for wage increases.

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