Seal of Dane County County of Dane

Living Wage Information

The Wisconsin State Legislature passed legislation that pre-empts Dane County's Living Wage Ordinance. The information below only applies to contracts entered into prior to April 17, 2018.


Section 25.12 of the Dane County Ordinances requires that persons who are employed by the County, employed directly in work performed as a result of a service contract with the County or employed by an employer who is the beneficiary of economic development assistance from the County be paid no less than a specified hourly wage known as the living wage.

Living Wage Information

For contracts beginning before January 1, 2017, the living wage means an hourly wage equal to 100% of the poverty level divided by 2080. The poverty level changes annually and means an annual income equal to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services then most recently published poverty guidelines for a family of four. For calendar year 2017, this figure is $11.69.

For contracts beginning January 1, 2017 or after, the living wage is an established amount and is listed below, beginning with the amount of $12.50 for 2017.

Living Wage Rates

For contracts beginning on or after 1/1/2017
  • 2017 - $12.50
  • 2018 - $13.00
  • 2019 - $13.50
  • 2020 - $14.00
  • 2021 - $14.50
  • 2022 - $15.00

Living Wage Rates

For contracts prior to 1/1/2017
  • 2019 - $12.07
  • 2018 - $11.83
  • 2017 - $11.69
  • 2016 - $11.66
  • 2015 - $11.47
  • 2014 - $11.33
  • 2013 - $11.09
  • 2012 - $10.75
  • 2011 - $10.61
  • 2010 - $10.61
  • 2009 - $10.20
  • 2008 - $9.93
  • 2007 - $9.62

Hourly Wage

The ordinance mandates that employers pay their affected employees at least the hourly living wage listed above for every hour worked on the County contract, subject to the rules set forth in the ordinance. If an employee is performing both county and non-county work and it is not possible to separately account for the time associated with the work under the county contract, the employee shall receive the full living wage. Under certain circumstances this requirement can be waived prior to a bid solicitation, and the employer can pay the living wage using a proportional formula.

"Employee" means any person who is employed either by the County or a Contractor, including part-time and temporary employees.

"Affected employee" means any person who is directly involved in providing a contracted service.

"Wages" mean the amount gross salary paid to an employees as compensation for labor performed, and does not include benefits or commission. This term does not include any amount paid to an employee not directly related to the labor performed, such as for parking, uniforms, and contributions to retirements plans. Employees who receive tips, commissions or other compensation of more than an hourly wage shall be paid an hourly wage which, when coupled with the other compensation, will at least equal the living wage for each pay period where an employee is directly involved in the service contract.

The living wage requirements do not apply to time an employee spends in employer-authorized "sleep time" at the work site.

Adjustments to Hourly Rate

For contracts existing prior to January 1st, 2017, the hourly rates paid to employees shall be adjusted upward yearly using the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for a family of four. The County will publish this information by October of the proceeding year. This applies to employees performing a direct function under a covered contract and multiple year contracts. Employers are responsible for building in the annual costs of the living wage into their contract bids.

For contacts starting on or after January 1st, 2017, the living wage will be $12.50 for 2017, $13.00 for 2018, $13.50 for 2019, $14.00 for 2020, $14.50 for 2021, and $15.00 for 2022

More information

2018 Documents


Dane County Purchasing Division
City-County Building, Room 425
210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Madison, WI 53703-3345
(608) 267-3523 Phone
(608) 266-4425 Fax