Everything You Need to Know About Living Wage

living wage is essential for people to work out of poverty | GROSCHE

A Living Wage

There are many popular definitions of a living wage but all of them have one thing in common. A living wage is not a rate of pay that requires someone to work more than one full-time job to support them or their family.

Problems with Current Wage Law

The federal minimum wage under our current wage law does not address the growing concern of low wage poverty. Currently, political and market forces determine the minimum wage. Then, this figure is applied to a broad section of the labour force. However, this minimal amount does not consider the local cost of living among other costs.

What is a Living Wage?

The living wage is the hourly wage rate a person needs to afford the necessities of life. Living Wage Canada calculates this figure by determining the costs needed to have a decent quality of life. This includes the cost of:

    • Food       
    • Clothing/ Footwear       
    • Shelter
    • Transportation
    • Child Care
    • Health Care       
    • Education       
    • Emergency Fund       
    • Participating in Society   
    • And others
         

Minimum wage Vs. Living Wage

Be sure not to confuse the minimum wage with a living wage. The minimum wage is a dollar figure that your federal or provincial government determines. It is also known as the wage floor. This hourly wage amount is the lowest an employer can pay an employee in Ontario. Currently, the minimum wage is $14.00 for the province of Ontario. In contrast, the living wage for Toronto is $18.52. Unlike the minimum wage, government policy has no say in what a living wage is. This figure is custom-built around what the employee needs.

Many two-income families across Canada struggle to put food on the table. The current minimum wage figure fails to meet the needs of our households. We find that many parents do not earn enough money on their minimum wage salaries to keep their families healthy and content. These families don’t have a decent standard of living where they can raise their children to be healthy and successful citizens.Is it so unfair to want something like that? Or is it unfair that we don’t already have it?

guelph first living wage retail living wage employee
The GROSCHE Coffee & Tea Boutique – Guelph’s first certified Living Wage Retail employer!

Why pay Living Wage?

At GROSCHE, we believe that people should not be dependent on public assistance after working a drudging 40 hour work week.

The main focus is what it costs to have a respectable standard of living. First and foremost, the living wage aims to provide a decent quality of life. This means a mother on a living wage would not have to choose between paying for swimming lessons, fixing the car or putting food on the table. A family on a living wage would be free of being in a perpetual state of financial stress. Too many families in Canada live paycheck to paycheck. Too many spend their days worrying about the bills that need paying. This leads to constant stress that can be debilitating and destructive to homes. Unfortunately, the minimum wage under the current federal law does not alleviate these issues. This is where the living wage comes in.

The living wage should provide people with the financial means to cover their basic costs. Not only that, but it should provide families with the means to be an active participant in society. Whether that means hosting a family barbecue, going to a Raptors game, or attending a town hall meeting.

History of the Living Wage

The living wage has its roots in the “family wage” movement started by trade unions and feminists in the early twentieth century.

What did they argue? Wage rates should be set at a level that covers the costs of running a household and raising children.

This led to the modern living wage movement that began in 1994 at Baltimore, Maryland. Interestingly, church groups and other volunteers began this movement, not political activists. These community members noticed that many families coming into soup kitchens and shelters had at least one family member working full time. This led to the realization that the minimum wage did not cover living expenses. Instead, the federal minimum wage left the workforce in stress and dependent on social assistance like food stamps.

Soon community activists across the United States launched living wage campaigns, protesting that the employee, employer, and community all benefit with a living wage. These pioneers argued that employees would be more willing to work under better terms. Employers would benefit from reduced worker turnover and improved worker morale. Lastly, the community would find new strength as its people attained the means to enjoy a decent, healthy life.

 

living wage baristas outside a coffee shop happy not in poverty | GROSCHE
                           A living wage is the minimum hourly wage needed for a full time worker to not live in poverty

 

Why We Pay a Living Wage. Not a Minimum Wage.

At GROSCHE we recognize the dedication our staff has put into the company since day one. With the help of the entire team here, we took GROSCHE from a basement operation to an industry leading social enterprise.

Thanks to the work we’ve all put in, GROSCHE can offer its premium products to you at an attractive price point. Not only that, but we have high employee retention rates, low turnover rates, and our community can attest to our great company morale. At GROSCHE we’re a tight-knit family, not just co-workers. As a family, we feel that every one of us should have access to health insurance, swimming lessons, and dinner. And everything in between.

We don’t want our staff to go home to financial stress where they can’t keep up with their bills. Whether it’s a business executive or retail employee, we want to be certain that the people behind our product are taken care of. And as a truly socially responsible company, we extend our consideration to their families. Not to mention the good of our entire community as well.

Our employees work 40 hours a week. We want their families to enjoy recreation, culture, and entertainment without the fear of defaulting on a mortgage. Which is why we pay a living wage.

Our Commitment to Social Responsibility

Many customers are aware of our Safe Water Project that provides clean drinking water to communities across the globe. As a leading social enterprise, we take pride in what we can do for our global community. However, we don’t pick and choose when to the commitment to social responsibility matters. At GROSCHE we are fully committed, and take a wholesome approach to the matter.

As a progressive social enterprise, GROSCHE provides employees with a salary that can truly support their everyday lives- rent, childcare, and base expenses included. GROSCHE joins hundreds of municipalities across North America (including Cambridge) as a Living Wage Employer.

Click here to learn more about our story.

One thought on “Everything You Need to Know About Living Wage

  1. Jamie B says:

    Hats off to you guys for taking a stand on this important issue. I have seen articles about you in the newspapers and am happy to see a business that is trying to change things for the better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *