Additional Information

  • This application is considered confidential and privileged information. It will only be shown to our program coordinator and our certification committee members. No copies will be made or distributed.
  • All applications will be reviewed by the DLWP Steering Committee, which is empowered to make all final decisions on certification.
  • As part of certification, we ask each employer to post a “Living Wage Certification Information” poster provided by the Living Wage Project in an area that is highly visible to employees.
  • Living wage status is reviewed annually, and the Project asks to be notified as soon as possible if employers are unable to meet the living wage criteria. The Project also reserves the right to verify claims made by employers, including randomly interviewing a small number of their employees. If an employer is found not to be paying a living wage and is unable to adjust wages, the Project will remove the employer from our list in a non-public manner.
  • All living wage employers must follow all basic U.S. and North Carolina labor laws, including the correct classification of employees and independent contractors.
  • All employers must also respect the rights of their workers to organize into labor unions. If an employer is engaging in anti-union activities or infringing on basic labor rights, its certification will be withdrawn. If an employer applies to be certified in the midst of a union contract negotiation or organizing campaign, the certification process will be delayed until after the process is complete.


Intern: A student or graduate engaged in supervised experiential learning in a professional setting. Internships are of a fixed duration, are established for the benefit of the intern, and have clearly defined objectives related to the professional goals of the intern. Interns must be clearly identified by their employer as an intern. For minimum wage and overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act, see the Department of Labor definitions here.

Apprentice: An individual who is learning a trade, art, or skill through a combination of on-the-job training and related instruction to learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation in exchange for work. Typically, apprenticeships include technical or classroom instruction in addition to on-the-job training resulting in a credential that certifies occupational proficiency. Apprentices must be clearly identified by their employer as an apprentice. Apprenticeships must be of a defined, limited time duration.

Temporary / Project-Based Employee: An “as needed” employee who works intermittently and does not work over 45 days in a calendar year.

New Hire: An employee who is within his/her/their first 90 days of employment during which the employee and employer are evaluating each other.

Tipped Employee: An employee who consistently relies on tips for a percentage of income. When averaged out, wages plus tips must equal at least the living wage amount.

Independent Contractor: Independent contractors are self-employed and are paid on an hourly basis (receiving a 1099).  $2/hour more than the living wage is the additional wage that Durham Living Wage Project recommends to cover individual tax requirements and liability that this class of worker must take on.  For more information on the difference between independent contractors and employees, see the IRS definitions here.

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