Living Wage Law and Legal Definition

Contractors and subcontractors who do business with a city or county that has a living wage ordinance must pay their employees at least a certain hourly rate and comply with other provisions of the ordinance, such as offering health benefits, providing leave, maintaining adequate records, and posting notice about living wage provisions.

A living wage ordinance requires employers to pay wages that are above federal or state minimum wage levels to meet basic subsistence needs in a particular geographic area. Only a specific set of workers are covered by living wage ordinances, usually those employed by businesses that have a contract with a city or county government or those who receive economic development subsidies from the locality. The rationale behind the ordinances is that city and county governments should not contract with or subsidize employers who pay poverty-level wages.