The “living wage” is calculated based on what it takes for 2 people with 2 children under the age of 10 to enjoy a debt-free standard of living and be considered full contributors to society. This data is compiled by various groups such as the United Way in order to understand people’s needs in their community and what might be done to fight poverty and reduce associated social issues.
The figures include enough for rent, utilities, food, transportation, recreation and vacation expenses and other things that a family of four would need to have a good healthy quality of life. They do not include savings for retirement, owning a home, pets, social outings, smoking, alcohol consumption or any little extras that many of us take for granted.
The living wage for Perth County was said to be $16.47 per hour in 2015 and the comparable figure for Wellington County was $16.50 per hour. If earned by both parents, this amount would be enough to allow these families to feel and be valued members of our community. Any families earning less than the living wage presumably have to rely on debt, social assistance or other means to get by.
Benefits for employers paying the living wage include reduced absenteeism and turnover rates, increased employee loyalty, improved productivity and a better profile for the company in the community.
Worker benefits include not having to work multiple jobs to pay the bills, improved nutrition and reduced stress due to fewer financial worries, thus resulting in better overall health.
Community benefits include higher consumer spending within the local economy, increased civic participation, lower child poverty rates and better use of social programs like childcare and public transportation.
I would encourage all employers and citizens in our community to embrace the idea of initiating a living wage for the greater good of all our citizens.