The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Living wage

Living wage refers to the hourly wage that one deems necessary for a person to achieve a basic standard of living. In the context of developed countries such as the United Kingdom or Switzerland, this standard is generally considered to require that a person working forty hours a week, with no additional income, should be able to afford housing, food, utilities, transport, health care and a certain amount of recreation. This concept differs from the minimum wage because the latter is set by law and may exceed or fail to meet the requirements of a living wage.

In the United States, several municipalities and local governments have enacted ordinances which set a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum for the purpose of requiring all jobs to meet the living wage for that region. Often, these ordinances only apply to certain types of businesses, such as those receiving government contracts. However, San Francisco, California, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Madison, Wisconsin have notably passed very wide-reaching living wage ordinances.

The national and international living wage movements are supported by many labor unions and community action groups such as ACORN.

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Last updated: 06-02-2005 12:31:53
Last updated: 08-27-2005 16:30:04