WINNIPEG—Low-income families face difficult choices: pay the rent or buy food; forego dental care to buy school supplies. Parents faced with these dilemmas are stressed and often ill. Their children suffer as a result, doing worse in school and enduring health problems of their own. These issues in turn cost both employers – in terms of lower productivity, absenteeism and employee turnover - and society in terms of healthcare costs, lessened purchasing power and lower tax revenues. If families earned a living wage, many of these effects would be lessened.
A living wage is based on the principle that fulltime work should provide families with a basic level of economic security. It allows a family of four with two parents working fulltime to pay for necessities, support the healthy development of their children, escape financial stress, and participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of their communities. According to a 2013 report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Manitoba Office, the family living wage for Winnipeg is $14.07/hour: $3.62 more than minimum wage.
The report explains how a combination of government policy and employer benefits can lower the minimum wage; in fact since 2009, government tax and Rent Aid policy has lowered the living wage for 1-parent families. It’s time for public and private sector employers to do their part: A Family Living Wage for Manitoba 2013 Update explains why and how.
For more information contact Molly McCracken, Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Manitoba Office: 204-803-0047