14 Nov Living Wage Week 2022
This week is #LivingWageWeek.
A living wage is defined as the hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover their basic expenses and participate in their community. This is different than minimum wage – minimum wage is the minimum that an employer can legally pay an employee, whereas a living wage is the minimum an employee can expect to live on.
Living wage is a data driven determination that considers the following:
- Food costs
- Childcare costs
- Medical expenses
- Modest recreation and vacation expenses
It does not include retirement savings, debt, repayment, home ownership, or savings for children’s education.
As the above costs fluctuate by community, a living wage is indexed regionally. For example, in 2021 a living wage in Simcoe County was calculated at $19.05/hr, whereas in Muskoka it was $18.55/hr. Across Ontario, a living wage ranged from as low as $16.20 in Sault Ste Marie and as high as $22.08 in Toronto. For reference, the current minimum wage in Ontario is $15.50; this means that even in Ontario’s most affordable community, minimum wage is not enough to survive on. In the past year, with increased housing costs and inflation, we know that the gap between minimum wage and a living wage has widened.
Living Wage Employers
Since 2019, your United Way has been a certified living wage employer. As a funding charity, we have also requested that all projects taken on by other agencies funded through United Way Simcoe Muskoka dollars pay their employees a living wage. We have made this decision because, as an organization committed to moving individuals from poverty to possibility, we need to be part of the solution not part of the problem for our own employees.
There are many benefits in becoming a Living Wage Employer:
Living Wage Employers see a reduction in absenteeism
Living Wage Employers see a reduction in staff turnover
Living Wage Employers see an increase in morale and loyalty
Living Wage Employers see an increase in productivity
Most importantly, by paying employees a living wage, it shows that you care about the health and wellness of your staff and their families.
In recognition of Living Wage Week, we would like to shout-out those businesses across our region that have joined United Way Simcoe Muskoka and made the decision to become a certified living wage employer:
Together with the Ontario Living Wage Network and these Living Wage employers, we’re changing the conversation about what the minimum standard of pay for low-wage workers should be in Simcoe Muskoka. Will you join us?
Chief Executive & Philanthropy Officer
United Way Simcoe Muskoka