After years of conversation, Charleston County is bumping its employees up to $15 an hour.
The increase will happen in increments, with minimum wage increasing to $13.50 as of October, and then to $15 starting in July when the new fiscal year budget will go into effect, Chairman of Charleston County Council Teddie Pryor said.
“The beginning of this year, we looked at it and some of our folks are making $9 to $10 an hour. We felt that that was unacceptable.”
The pay increase for all employees was approved by the Charleston County Council at the Sept. 14 meeting.
The mid-term adjustment will cost the county an extra million-plus dollars to bring the employees up to the new wage.
“That wasn’t anticipated in last year’s budget, so we had to find that money to make this work,” Pryor said.
The mid-year raise puts money in employees’ pockets six months sooner and helps the county with turnover and employees who leave to go elsewhere for a few more dollars an hour, he said.
“The cost of living has gone up. The pandemic has made it worse if you look at the price of food and meat, some if it’s doubled,” Pryor said. “We want to make sure even before this that our employees would be able to live a decent lifestyle.”
Employees can now take on entry level jobs, such as public works and janitorial positions, and see impactful increases, Pryor said. Additionally, with some employees already hovering upward of the new minimum wage at $15.25, Pryor said the adjusted plan will also ensure they don’t get stagnated.