Living Wages

If we take a step back the issue of living wages should be simple. Anyone who has a full-time job should earn a living wage. Families should earn an income sufficient for them to pay for the basic necessities of life, so they can live with dignity and participate as active citizens in our society. It used to be the case. It isn’t the reality nowadays.

work-2196609_1920It makes sense that for employees to get paid fair compensation for their work. Business owners who say they can’t afford to pay a living wage, shouldn’t hire employees at all or shouldn’t own the business. Having a business isn’t a right. Asking people to work below the poverty level so you can own a business is entitlement at its finest and should be deemed illegal.

Close to 1 million people, including more than 300,000 children will have to use food banks this summer to be able to feed themselves and their families. The use of food banks has been increasing every year. 28% more people access food banks now than in 2008.

It’s been proven that a living wage reduces absenteeism, decreases turnover rates, lowers recruitment and training costs, increases morale, productivity and loyalty.

A living wage makes it possible to have a better quality of life and improved health. It also increases opportunities for continuing education and skills training.

It’s easy to say to someone: “don’t take the job if you don’t like the pay“, doesn’t solve the issue. Taking a job with a bad pay is better than having no job at all. Most of us make sacrifices to keep our families afloat.

application-1915345_1920It’s easy to say to someone who is stuck working a full-time job and still doesn’t get paid enough to cover basic necessities to “find a better job”. The problem is that when the minimum salary as set by the government is under the poverty line, it makes it very difficult to have access to a higher paying job.

Unfortunately, raising the minimum wage to cover a living wage won’t fix all the problems and will create new ones. For example, without affordable housing and affordable child care, families will continue to struggle to make ends meet even with a living wage.

The kind of inane elitism declaring that makes anyone the arbiter of who deserves to live is just gross assholery and utter foolishness to boot. Too many have bought into the myth that their hard work is what set them apart when all you’re truly relying on upon in this society is luck.

All of us are one really bad month away from homelessness. Both my husband and I make a living wage and we are still struggling. The reason, in our case, is job stability. It doesn’t take much to fall under the poverty line and rack up debts when a member of the family gets downsized or contract doesn’t get renewed, etc. We were lucky. My husband was able to find a job after a few months of unemployment and now we are working on righting our finances. It isn’t easy with interest rates, taxes, kids, etc.  It would be impossible without a living wage.

If you have been insulated enough to never have to confront that reality and develop the compassion and empathy that come from realising how fragile your own position is, I am both happy for you and sad, as that lack of compassion and empathy is hurting real hard working human beings.

Telling people to get a better education isn’t a solution either. Education costs money and not everyone is privileged enough to afford higher or continuing education. Even if you have a degree, it doesn’t automatically mean you will do better than someone who doesn’t have one. I have a university degree and my husband has a high school degree with a business certificate. We have the same salary. The only difference is that I have more vacation time, a better group insurance and my cell phone is covered by the company.

If someone cannot work either due to lack of jobs or health, they still deserve a decent life.


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