A living wage, not minimum wage

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A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:59 pm

In Canada, there discussions in communities with significant poverty issues about how to help affected residents escape poverty. A living wage is seen as necessary. However, getting minimum wages to rise over the years was a hot issue politically in Ontario. So even when the wages rose, other costs had gone up (bus fares, HST applied to postal services, utility gas delivery fees, etc), so the increase got lost in covering essentials when possible.

Here's an article that appeared in the papers about what a living wage is and what it could cover and what it could not cover for a working person.

Mon Dec 12 2011
City eyes living wage for workers
The city is moving closer to paying its employees a living wage — not a minimum wage.

City staff are investigating how much it would cost to pay its employees $14.95 per hour rather than $10.25 per hour. They will be coming back to council in mid-2012 with a report outlining several options for paying city staff — including boards and agencies such as police, library and HECFI staff — a living wage.

Anti-poverty advocates told council Monday that 30,000 workers in Hamilton are employed, but still live in poverty.

A living wage in Hamilton allows for necessities such as food, shelter, utilities, childcare, medical and dental costs and transportation. It also includes allowances for other items such as Internet service, occasional social outings and an annual modest vacation in Ontario.
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/638252--city-eyes-living-wage-for-workers

http://sprc.hamilton.on.ca/Reports/pdf/Calculating-a-Living-Wage-for-Hamilton-Full-Report.pdf You should advance to section 12, page 8 of the pdf, to see living wage calculations for other cities in Canada.

Finally located the article I had wanted to post first:
http://www.thespec.com/opinion/columns/article/637224--should-hamilton-become-a-living-wage-community
Living wage policies have been in place since the mid 1990s and are now in some 140 municipalities and counties in the U.S., including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. In London, U.K., more than 115 firms have committed to pay a living wage. In British Columbia, the New Westminster city council adopted a living wage policy this year for all municipal and contracted service staff. Esquimalt, B.C., has also adopted a Living Wage policy. If Hamilton adopted a Living Wage, we wouldn’t be the first municipality in Canada, but we’d be the first big city in Canada to have such a policy.

Although living wage policies vary in terms of the wage and who is covered, there is clear evidence from these policies in the U.S. and elsewhere of the benefits and costs of a living wage.

For example, the costs of New Westminster’s living wage policy are estimated to be less than a quarter of 1 per cent of the city budget. A survey of 20 cities with living wage policies in the U.S. found costs tend to be less than one-tenth of 1 per cent of city budgets. Since the costs of a living wage are usually only a small part of the total costs of doing business, the cost impact is usually modest or negligible. Several studies conclude that where living wage policies are applied to city contracts, the costs of the contracts did not rise much, and sometimes declined. Contract bidding remained competitive or improved. Living wages can also lead to more efficient provision of public services.

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Re: A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:05 am

There are two articles related to work (finding or keeping it) and to saving when your earnings are just keeping your monthly expenses covered. I will post them when I can find them online, as I saw the items in Toronto papers. They both relate to the current economic situation--it's not easy to find work even if you have graduated from post-secondary education.
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Re: A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:43 pm

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1115552--does-ontario-really-need-three-new-universities

The columnist is the same person who had delivered a talk a year ago about jobs in the future and are post-secondary schools helping people get ready for them.

About jobs and where college and university graduates tend to go:
http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1115303--why-job-growth-may-favour-college-grads-apprentices-over-university-students

This is the article about a graduate student wanting to work in her field but is relying on cafe work to pay her bills-there is not much left to put away for savings or surprise costs:
to be found

Three people are interviewed about their education and job situations-one person admits that trade work is something he will train for as his classical education is not getting him jobs:
The graphics design graduate: http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1117324--work-comes-calling
The classical education graduate: to be found
The just-downsized freelancer: to be found
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Re: A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:00 pm

Consider this: in view of the economic situations in European countries where several of them are trying to keep costs down and budgets reduced, there are employers happy to see some weakening in employee job protection or wage laws. Beware, jobseekers.

Employment
The crisis, golden opportunity for employers
23 March 2012 Frankfurter Rundschau Frankfurt
Pressed hard by the recession and national debts, European governments are rewriting the labour law, whether watering down job protection or cutting wages. And employers are smiling.

Stephan Kaufmann
In Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal, the crisis is raging. All of southern Europe has been laid low. All of southern Europe? Not exactly. Some people in these countries are seeing long-cherished wishes come true. One is Juan Rosell, head of the Spanish employers' organization CEOE, who has been calling for a relaxation of job protection for years. Now the government has heeded his call. “It won’t be the last labour market reform,” prophesies Rosell, scenting victory. The crisis is his opportunity.

Businesses in Europe have the upper hand. Under pressure from recession and national debt, governments are rolling back workers' rights across the board and pushing down labour costs. The aim is to make locations for investors cheaper and therefore more attractive. “Europe is on its way to becoming an entrepreneur's paradise – on the backs of the workers,” complains Apostolos Kapsalis of the Research Institute of the Greek Trade Union Federation, GSEE.

Given skyrocketing unemployment rates and the cutbacks demanded by the European Union, trade unions are on the defensive. In Greece, the government has made drastic cuts to the minimum wage and to unemployment benefits. “Massive wage cuts will be the consequence,” says Michala Marcussen from French bank Société Générale.

http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/1678031-crisis-golden-opportunity-employers
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Re: A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:22 pm

The living wage debate continues.

First, a link to what's happening at some Walmart stores after the new $9/h wage took effect-some stores are cutting extra hours or telling staff to take longer lunch breaks in order to cut store operating costs. http://www.thestar.com/business/2015/08/31/wal-mart-cuts-workers-hours-after-pay-raise-boosts-costs.html
The request has resulted in some stores trimming hours from their schedules, asking employees to leave shifts early or telling them to take longer lunches, according to more than three dozen employees from around the U.S. The reductions started in the past several weeks, even as many stores enter the busy back-to-school shopping period.


A letter to the newspaper's editor reveals what the living wage in Denmark is--read on:
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2015/08/30/why-not-a-25-minimum-wage.html
In my native Denmark, the minimum wage is $25 an hour. So is that tiny country rich and privileged? Not at all, but governments there learned long ago that giving every working person a living wage — even though modest — also cut down on crime, medical costs and other problems that plague an entrenched underclass.
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Re: A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Mon May 30, 2016 1:54 pm

California's precarious employment situation is what led to Ontario (Canada) to deal with its own precariously employed.
The hard, sprawling city my parents left behind is in fact America’s wage theft capital. An estimated $26.2 million (U.S.) in wages are stolen from ordinary Angelenos every week. One in three Californian workers is low-wage — about 4.8 million people. In short, it’s an unlikely source of inspiration for Ontarians who want better workplace protection.

But 27 years after my parents left, that’s exactly what’s happened.

“I think what’s interesting about California is there’s a range of things happening,” says Deena Ladd, of the Toronto-based Workers Action Centre. “They’re not just raising the minimum wage. They’re taking on wage theft, they’re taking on issues of enforcement, they’re taking on fair scheduling. And that’s basically our same message to the (Ontario) government. We need a systemic approach to deal with the deterioration of working conditions.”

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/05/30/how-americas-wage-theft-capital-became-an-unlikely-inspiration-for-ontario.html
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Re: A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:32 pm

Precarious employment remains a top of mind reality for many people working in service jobs or on contracts:
New research conducted by Stephanie Premji, an assistant professor at McMaster University’s School of Labour Studies, is shedding light on the link between precarious work and long, inefficient and costly public transit commutes.

The study, done in collaboration with Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, found that not only do precariously employed workers endure complex commutes that drain their time and money, their travel patterns may contribute to their inability to find better work.

Premji said the findings reflect the fact that transit hasn’t adapted to reflect the rise of precarious part-time, temporary or contract employment, which now makes up more than half of all work in Toronto.

“Society is set up for the standard 9-to-5 jobs,” said Premji. “The system is just not set up for this new reality of employment.”

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/06/04/study-highlights-link-between-precarious-work-and-miserable-commutes.html
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Re: A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:35 pm

Washington, D.C. in the United States has approved a $15 hourly minimum wage-except for tipped workers in the restaurant industry which asked for a smaller increase.
The vote marked a victory for local and national unions, which targeted the nation’s capital more than a year ago for a symbolic victory in the “Fight for $15” campaign.

A final vote is required later this month, but that appeared to be a formality.

The District’s hourly minimum, now $10.50, would rise to $15 by 2020. After that, annual increases would be automatic and tied to inflation, as unions have wanted. But to assuage the District’s powerful restaurant-industry lobby, D.C. lawmakers have demanded that tipped workers’ pay rise by a smaller amount


https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/deal-reached-for-15-minimum-wage-in-dc-unions-say/2016/06/07/cff3dd66-2c2a-11e6-9de3-6e6e7a14000c_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_minwage-945am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory
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Re: A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:32 pm

A Hamilton, Ontario(Canada) community group that focuses on what makes a living wage has updated the value to $15.85/h recently, based on full-time work. What the article did not say is how many hours are considered full-time, as I've seen variations of part-time definitions from under 24h/week or up to 32h/week.
The living wage calculation, she said, is based on a family of four, with two children ages nine and two, which have to pay their rent ($1,305) food ($757), childcare ($806), transportation ($664), education ($88) and recreation expenses ($42) every month. It doesn’t include the family owning a pet; having a night out, or other personal expenses. But it does include money for one week of camping, gifts and other activities, at a cost of about $167.

“Social inclusion is essential,” said Pike.

Hamilton’s revised living wage is on the lower scale of what 14 other Ontario municipalities have adopted over the years such as the Niagara Region at $17.47, Peterborough with $17.65, Toronto with $18.52 – the highest – and Halton Region at $17.05.

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/6967186-hamilton-s-living-wage-jumps-to-15-85-an-hour/

Clothing and footwear need replacing and then there's the question of how to cover medical costs. One cannot go without clothing and shoes-thrift stores can be useful if one is able to alter clothing but stores can be limited in terms of sizes offered for sale (if items are donated) or one does not have do-it-yourself skills to make a garment to fit or updated. $167-gifts and wrapping and cards can take up a large amount of that sum.

Not all of the municipalities have adequate public transit coverage or service hours. Hospitality sector workers outside of downtown cores can expect to rely on cars or rides to get to and from work at various hours.
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Re: A living wage, not minimum wage

Postby CielOnTap on Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:15 am

While the living wage issue has occasional council meeting attention, it must be stated that some of the City of Hamilton's
part-time workers group will include employees who are under 18yrs of age and most likely to be working at a recreational centre
as program instructors or facility attendants.
The minimum wage for youth is lower than it is for adults in Ontario.

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/6979142-more-than-500-city-workers-paid-less-than-living-wage/

Good to see the list of different Ontario cities and their living wage levels, not that most are getting them nor full-time hours (of which I have to find the number calculated for Hamilton, on which many things are assumed to be doable on the living wage if two adults and two children constitute a household).
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