Just pay the Living Wage

First published in Hamilton News on 1 November 2019

Photo credit: Living Wage Aotearoa

With thanks to Wellington carpenter Samuel Parnell, we were among the first in the world to claim the right to an ‘8 hour working day’ in 1840, celebrated as Labour day since 1890.  

Today, the problem isn’t necessarily long hours spent in a factory, it’s businesses paying their staff less than the cost of living.

You’ve probably heard the term the working poor.  A growing number of Kiwis who work full-time and still cannot afford, food on the table, medical or dental work or continually increasing rents. 

While this government is increasing the Minimum Wage to $20 by 2021 it still isn’t enough, nor calculated to match the cost of living each year like the Living Wage does.

A Living Wage is the hourly wage a worker needs to pay for the necessities of life and participate as an active citizen in the community.  It is calculated annually and is currently $21.15 per hour.

If you’re an employer and “can’t afford to pay a living wage”; you should be rethinking your business model and budgets, to work out how you can do this.  It isn’t just about doing the right thing, it’s the business smart thing to do with research showing a Living Wage can lead to increases in productivity, reduced absenteeism and staff turnover.

This week was Living Wage week, I urge you to set a goal to be paying all of your employees a Living Wage by Labour Day 2020.  For more information livingwageaotearoa.co.nz

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