6 Reasons You Should be a Living Wage Employer

6 Reasons You Should be a Living Wage Employer

As of November 1, 2019, United Way Simcoe Muskoka was one of the first employers in Simcoe County to be certified as a Living Wage Employer. As a champion supporter, this means that all current UWSM employees and any future hires, whether permanent or contract, will be paid a minimum of the current living wage.

Last calculated for Simcoe County in November of 2018, living wage is $18.01/hour, which is far different than the minimum wage established by the provincial government. By providing a living wage, UWSM and other Living Wage Employers are helping to ease the financial burden that more than 60,000 Simcoe Muskoka residents living in poverty face, and are improving the social, physical and mental health of those who are now earning a living wage.

We know that paying your employees a living wage can be a difficult step for some businesses, especially local small businesses. That’s why organizations like the Simcoe County Poverty Reduction Task Group and the Ontario Living Wage Network exist. They are able to help you make the transition to becoming a Living Wage Employer and do it in a way that’s best for you.

Providing a living wage for your employees can drastically change their lives for the better, but did you know that becoming a Living Wage Employer has great benefits for your business, too? Here are six benefits that Living Wage Employers see.

Reduced Absenteeism

When going to work every day – potentially to more than one job – doesn’t cover your basic necessities, it can be tough to go in at all. Minimum wage jobs see much higher rates of absenteeism and use of sick days than jobs that provide a living wage.

This is because people earning a living wage know that their job and their employer are there to support them.

Reduced Turnover

Unless you have a very engaged group of employees, there isn’t much stopping someone from taking another job just because of a pay increase. Furthermore, if your team feels like you actually value them, they are more likely to be loyal to you and your company.

If employees are being paid enough to not just survive but actually live a healthy life, they’re less likely to seek new employment.

Reduced Training Costs

With lower turnover comes less need to train new employees. As a direct result, less time and money is spent on hiring and training.

Some estimates put the cost of advertising for, interviewing and training a new employee at upwards of 16-20% of their annual salary. While paying a living wage is more expensive at first, it saves your organization or company substantially in the long run.

Increased Morale and Loyalty

When you are looking out for your employees, they will do the same for you. They will be strong advocates for you and your business towards their family and friends.

This means that they are more likely to go the extra mile for your business, too. A workplace filled with loyal, motivated employees naturally creates stronger morale, which feeds back into a cycle of positivity and productivity.

Increased Productivity

When someone is more engaged at work, more inclined to show up and not faced with a carousel of new coworkers, they can focus more on their work. They don’t have to worry about these internal factors, but they also don’t have to worry about external factors.

An employee who is struggling to feed their family or keep the lights on may not be as productive at work as they could be if these stressors weren’t present. When someone makes a living wage, these external sources of stress start becoming more manageable.

Increased Recognition and PR

It’s a well-known fact that the provincially mandated minimum wage isn’t enough for people to survive on. Despite this, there is little progress being made by businesses to change that. By taking the initiative to drive change yourself, you are seen publicly as a leader among other businesses. This, in turn, will attract better talent when you need to hire.

It might seem daunting to increase earnings to a living wage, but it’s clear that the benefits far outweigh the costs – not just for your employees, but for your business as well. We encourage other businesses throughout Simcoe Muskoka to look at their options in becoming a certified Living Wage Employer.

For more details on how to get there, please visit https://www.ontariolivingwage.ca/become_a_living_wage_employer

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