‘Living wage rate’ study shows Travis County lags behind

Travis County

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County employees make a minimum of $13 an hour, but that “living wage rate” lags behind comparable cities and counties competing for workers.

Commissioners will hear the results of a study Tuesday, that looks at how much it would cost the county to raise wages up to a minimum of $15, the same rate employees get working for the Bexar and Harris counties and the cities of Austin and San Antonio.

“We’re always looking at the market,” said Tracey Calloway, Travis County’s human resources director.

The living wage rate — effectively a minimum wage for county employees — has risen sharply over the last 20 years, from $7.50 an hour in 1999 to $13 now. Although they won’t be voting on pay raises Tuesday, commissioners will use the results of the study to determine whether to bump wages by another $1 or $2.

The county looks at rates every year to decide whether it needs to pay more to attract and keep workers who might have other opportunities in neighboring jurisdictions.

“What we’re seeing a lot, which I think everybody knows, is there’s a cost of living that’s to be concerned about here in Austin,” Calloway said. “And so, we want to be mindful of that, but we also have to pay attention to, what is the market for the jobs that are being done?”

On KXAN News Today, how much a wage bump would cost the county, and which employees would benefit.

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