Living Wage Information

Contracts Affected by the Living Wage Ordinance

The living wage ordinance applies to employees who are directly involved in providing services through a service contract with Dane County. Service contract means any contract with the county, for the provision of services to any county department or agency involving the following types of personal services: general labor, clerical work, janitorial work, security (including weapons screening), food service, human services contracts (including transportation), and personal care and home care work paid with county-administered funds for persons with disabilities and the frail elderly, whether the workers are employed directly by the consumer or by a third party. The purchasing agent shall review each bid specification or request for proposals and make a determination as to whether the proposed contract will constitute a service contract.

Exemptions from the Living Wage Ordinance

The Living Wage Ordinance does not apply to some contracts. These include:

Subcontractors are covered by the ordinance

Subcontractors, persons or entities having an arrangement with a contractor to furnish services for the benefit of the County of Dane, are covered under the living wage ordinance if that arrangement would be a service contract if entered into directly with the County.

Disabled workers may be exempt

If a disabled employee is affected by a current sub-minimum wage certificate issued to the Contractor by the U.S. Department of Labor: or would be covered by such a certificate but for the fact that the Contractor is paying a wage equal to or higher than the minimum wage, that employee shall be exempt form the definition of affected employee.

Non-profit Organizations may be covered by the ordinance

Non-profit service providers are covered if they provide services under contracts with the county in amounts equal to or greater than $5,000.

Volunteers are exempt

Volunteers are not affected employees

Temporary On-call Employees

Temporary and on-call employees qualify as affected employees if they work on a County contract.

Multiple year contracts

The living wage applies to multiple year contracts. When bidding on multiple year contracts, both the current year and future living wage rates shall be taken into consideration when calculating pricing. The County shall not be responsible for a vendor's failure to adequately predict future living wage increases.

Employers shall be responsible for calculating the living wage when bidding on multiple year contracts, for posting the living wage notification each year and for adjusting the wages of any affected employees annually.

Multiple Contracts with One Vendor

The living wage ordinance applies to each contract with a value of $5,000 or more.

Notifying Affected Employees

Contractors and subcontractors must provide written notice about the Living Wage to affected employees. The notice shall be in the form prescribed by the County. The notice must be provided during or immediately after the first pay period in which an employee becomes a affected employee and no later than 30 days after the new wage rate takes affect.

All employers are required to post a Living Wage Notice in locations where other employee notices are normally posted.

The employer must provide the Living Wage Notice in any language spoken by a significant number of employees.


Contractors and subcontractors shall keep accurate payroll records relative to living wage requirements and these records shall be made available for inspection upon request by the Contract Compliance Officer.

Reporting Non-Compliance

Violations of the Living Wage Ordinance shall be reported to the Dane County Contract Compliance Officer, Wesley Sparkman. The telephone number is 266-5623.

Penalties for non-compliance

Failure to comply with the requirements of the Living Wage Ordinance is a breach of contract and such breach may result in withholding of payments and/or termination, cancellation or suspension of the contract in whole or in part. Violations may also result in denying a contractor the right to participate in bidding on future county contracts for a period of time.


Each worker employed directly in performance of a county contract shall receive the full living wage. If a worker is performing both county and non-county work and it is not possible to separately account for the time associated with work under the county contract, then the worker shall receive the full living wage. No proportional calculation shall be allowed.

If no bids are received on a contract and designated staff determines that compliance with the full living wage provision contributed to the lack of bids, the contract may be re-bid with a waiver of the no proportional calculation requirement. A proportionate living wage determination may be made in this instance.

If a contract is re-bid after a waiver of the no proportional calculation requirement has been granted, the successful bidder shall pay the County's living wage to all of its employees who are directly engaged in performing the work on service contracts with the county on either a full-time or part-time basis. For service contracts where no individual employee performs specific County contract functions, the living wage may be determined by using a formula that computes the living wage. The following formula shall be used to determine the proportionate living wage when allowed.

Example: Go Jo Company

First, determine the amount of the county contract as a percentage of an employer's total annual gross sales.

        $100.000 Amount of County Contract
        ÷ $10,000,000 Go Jo Total Annual Gross Sales
        1.0% Proportionate County share of Go Jo's business

Identify the current living wage rate that is in effect.

        2005 Living wage rate $9.07

Determine the living wage by calculating the average hourly wage for all employees for each work group classification who are directly involved in providing services under a county contract and who are earning less than the living wage.

        Average Wage rate Go Jo empoloyee: $7.50

The percentage of the County contract to total sales is multiplied by 2080 to determine the number of hours worked on the contract.

        x 2080 Full Time Hours per Year
          20.8 hours

The difference between the living wage and the average hourly wage is multiplied by the total number of hours spent on the contract (% of county service contract times 2080 hours in calendar year) and divided by 2080.

          9.07   2005 Living Wage
        - 7.50   Average hourly wage of employees doing direct work on County contract
          1.57   Difference
        x 20.80  Total hours worked on County contract 
          32.66  Total Additional Annual Wage Increase
        % 2080
        0.0157 Equal Approx $ 0.02 hourly increase

This amount is then added to the hourly wage of all employees earning less than the living wage who are directly involved in providing services under a contract with the County.

        $7.52 New Hourly Rate ($7.50 + 0.02)

15,600.00 Annual Salary (assuming full time) of Affected Employee before applying living wage formula

$15,641.60 New annual Salary after applying living wage formula

This applies only to all locations where County work is being performed by affected employees.

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