On Aug. 30, Travis County commissioners unanimously voted to raise the minimum wage for Travis County employees from $15 to $20 an hour and implement a 5% salary increase across the board.

The wage increases will take effect on Oct. 1 with the start of fiscal year 2022-23.

The FY 2022-23 compensation package, which also includes increases in shift differential pay—which refers to extra pay given to employees who work outside normal business hours—overtime rates, and a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees, is expected to cost the county $48,152,777.

“I think this is an essential increase we are doing; I don’t think it’s excessive; and hopefully it will help us fill the vacancies we have for the crucial work that needs to be done,” Commissioner Brigid Shea said.

Commissioners said they favored raising wages to match the rising cost of living in Austin and to be competitive with the city of Austin, which recently adopted a $20 an hour minimum wage.

“It’s really important that we do everything we can [to maintain our workforce],” Commissioner Jeff Travillion said, pointing to turnover.

The measure is also meant to retain employees near the bottom of the pay scale, which is the largest group of workers the county has struggled to keep, Assistant Human Resources Director Todd Osburn said.

“I’m so glad that we’re giving our workforce the economic resources they need to thrive in this community,” Judge Andy Brown said. “Our employees are our most valuable piece of what we are as a county, so I’m super excited that we are headed in this direction today.”