New Policy Increases Base Salary for Regional Food Bank Employees | Community

The Oklahoma Regional Food Bank has implemented a living wage policy for its employees. Since January 1, no permanent employee of the Regional Food Bank earns less than $18.47 an hour.

This base salary increase for all employees is the result of months of consultation, collaboration and research, taking into consideration many factors, including the region of the organization and the generous existing benefits package. Providing a living wage means providing an income that allows employees to meet basic needs like housing, food, and other necessities.

“Underemployment, not earning enough money to make ends meet, is an underlying cause of hunger and poverty. Our work to prevent hunger begins within our own organization,” said Stacy Dykstra, Executive Director of the Regional Food Bank. “Our employees are our greatest resource and we believe that by increasing our pay scale to start with a living wage, we are honoring our staff by ensuring that they can support themselves and their families.”

In addition to increasing the base salary, the Regional Food Bank is working with a local human capital consultant to review current salary scales and develop transparent and fair salary scales for every position in the organization, measured against data from market available. The first phase of this review has been implemented and all phases are to be completed by mid-April.

The combination of implementing a living wage and establishing a transparent pay scale are two key changes to ensure a fair working environment at the Regional Food Bank. An additional step was implemented earlier in the year when the organization adopted the practice of posting salary ranges with each job posting.

For a Regional Food Bank worker, the living wage policy means her family can worry less about having enough money to make ends meet each month.

“The living wage adjustment has had a significant impact on my family,” said Westlee, who joined the Regional Food Bank more than three years ago. “This change will prevent employees like me from needing food assistance and allow us to focus on Oklahomans who need it.”

One of the goals of implementing a living wage policy at the Regional Food Bank is to create a more equitable work environment for current and future employees.

“We hope our actions will encourage other employers to consider adopting similar policies,” Dykstra said. “As a non-profit organization, we take the responsibility of managing every donated dollar very seriously and know that our partners trust us to ensure that we maximize their investment. Ensuring that our employees can meet their basic needs brings us one step closer to ending hunger and poverty in Oklahoma.”