Dorchester County is set to implement a significant pay raise for all of its county employees, ensuring that every job will earn at least $15 per hour. The pay increase was unanimously approved on March 20th by the County Council, with Chairman Todd Friddle explaining that it would take the minimum wage up to $15 an hour from $14 an hour.
Notably, even employees making above the minimum wage will receive an average of a 7.15% pay raise. Friddle said that this move would help make the county more competitive in the job market and improve retention rates. “Which makes us so much more competitive in the marketplace, and improves our retention rate in the future,” he said.
The move is aimed at ensuring that critical public service positions, such as those in public safety, EMS, fire rescue, and the 911 Call Center, are not lost to other entities. The county is currently struggling to fill 150 vacant full and part-time positions, and the higher pay is expected to help attract workers to those roles.
In total, there are currently 932 full-time and 143 part-time employees in the county, all of whom will be impacted by the pay increase. The changes will take effect on March 25th, and Friddle confirmed that there would be no millage increase required to pay for the raises. Instead, the county will cover the costs through its own growth.
Overall, the pay increase is part of a broader effort to make Dorchester County a more attractive place to work. Friddle said, “The key is we want to make Dorchester County the county that everybody wants to come to work for. We want to make that the premier county in the Lowcountry.”
With higher wages and a commitment to critical public service positions, the county hopes to retain existing employees while also attracting new workers to fill important roles.