EBCI increases minimum wage to $15/hour for tribal employees

by Sep 8, 2022NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


One Feather Staff


Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed announced on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 8 that the tribal government of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is raising the minimum wage of tribal employees to $15 per hour effective Oct. 1.  The current minimum wage is $10.50 per hour.

In a recorded statement, Chief Sneed said, “The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has long been the employer of choice for EBCI citizens to obtain gainful employment at a competitive wage.  We pride ourselves on the fact that we support our citizenry and community by providing excellent wages, great benefits, and an attractive retirement plan.”

He went on to explain, “However, after the onset of COVID, the EBCI witnessed a rise in wages across the Qualla Boundary similar to what is experienced nationally due to workforce issues and inflation.  In response, we must provide a living wage to our citizens, and the EBCI is prepared to do.  We’re happy to report that the EBCI Executive Committee, which consists of myself and Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley, has authorized the raising of the EBCI government minimum wage to $15 per hour for regular, full-time employees.”

Chief Sneed related that the minimum wage increase will affect 155 tribal employees or 13 percent of the total workforce.  “Now, while we sought to ensure a fair distribution of this wage increase, our primary focus is the employees at the lower end of the pay scale to ensure that our Cherokee families are able to meet their basic needs.  78 percent of our workforce will receive a 6 percent increase with higher paid employees a 3 to 3.25 percent increase.”

He further explained that none of the increases will affect EBCI elected officials nor appointed employees.

“This increase will mean more resources for our community members to provide clothes for their children going back to school, healthier meals for our families, and, most importantly, reduced stress on our employees as they struggle with higher prices at the pumps and retail outlets.”

According to information sent to tribal employees, the wage adjustment increases will be reflected on the Nov. 4 paycheck (pay period ending Oct. 22) and include retro pay from Oct. 1 to Oct. 22.