Charleston County employees will get a 1.8 percent cost-of-living raise on Oct. 3, Human Resources Director Fagan Stackhouse said Wednesday.

In addition, about 40 percent of the county's 2,472 employees will receive an additional $867, as part of a wage restructuring approved by the County Council on Tuesday. About 90 percent of those getting the additional money earn less than $50,000 a year.

As part of the new wage plan, a merit pay system will begin next July that is intended to replace cost-of-living raises.

In recent years, county staffers have received a one-time cost-of-living allowance of $500 to $1,000, officials said.

The overhaul of the county pay system creates "career ladders" that provide a clearer path for employee development, Stackhouse said.

A consultant recommended the changes, which include raising council members' pay as well.

The Council chairman's salary would rise from $17,347 to $26,142, while the seven other council members would increase from $14,352 to $20,738. It would be the first pay hike for Council in more than a decade.

Council is scheduled to vote on its pay hike on Aug. 21.

Under state law, council pay raises become effective after the next General Election in which at least two Council members are elected. The pay raise takes effect for all Council members when the newly-elected Council members begin their terms.