living wage

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living wage,

the hourly wage that, at a minimum, supports a standard of living above the poverty level in a given locality. It differs from the minimum wageminimum wage,
lowest wage legally permitted in an industry or in a government or other organization. The goal in establishing minimum wages has been to assure wage earners a standard of living above the lowest permitted by health and decency.
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, which often provides a less than adequate standard of livingstandard of living,
level of consumption that an individual, group, or nation has achieved. The evaluation of a standard of living is relative, depending upon the judgment of the observer as to what constitutes a high or a low scale.
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. Usually exceeding both federal and state minimum wages, the living wage of any locality is normally set by a law that requires that it be paid to a specific set of workers, often those employed by businesses that have local government contracts or that receive government economic development subsidies. The recipient of a living wage stipend is generally a full-time worker who is expected to support a family (often of four). In normal circumstances, the higher the cost of livingcost of living,
amount of money needed to buy the goods and services necessary to maintain a specified standard of living. The cost of living is closely tied to rates of inflation and deflation.
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 in a given locality, the higher the living wage. Living-wage laws are in effect in several European countries, e.g., Great Britain and Switzerland. In the United States, living-wage bills had been enacted by more than 140 cities and counties by 2007. That year Maryland became the first U.S. state to require the payment of a living wage by nearly all profit-making employers with state contracts. Since then, there has been an increased focused on higher minimum wages at the state and local level as well as indexing minimum wages to inflation.


See studies R. Pollin and S. Luce (2000), Z. Madjd-Sadjadi (2001), D. Neumark (2002), D. M. Figart et al. (2002) and as ed. (2004), and S. Luce (2004).

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living wage

a wage adequate to permit a wage earner to live and support a family in reasonable comfort
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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