living wage

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Idioms, Wikipedia.

living wage

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 wage, which often provides a less than adequate standard of living. 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 living 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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
References in periodicals archive ?
But the legal minimum wage for people aged 25 and over - also known as the "national living wage" - is just PS8.21-an-hour.
This means that as well as paying its own staff the living wage or above, the organisation has developed a plan for requiring the DCC's regular contractors to pay staff undertaking services for the DCC the living wage as a minimum.
It has just received official accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation, a charity which aims to improve earnings for all.
The Real Living Wage is different from the government's National Living Wage.
Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman said: "Today's increase in the Government minimum wage will provide a welcome boost to low-pay workers.
A worker on the national minimum wage will get PS16,009 a year, compared to PS17,550 on the Real Living Wage, money firms adhering to the independent Living Wage Foundation's rate give staff.
Moira Jarvie and Collette Bradley, Unison representatives at the college, said: "Unison is pleased that New College Lanarkshire has now achieved living wage accreditation in line with the National Agreement with Support Staff Unions to do so.
Wales has one of the highest proportions of non-Living Wage jobs in the country (24%), with around 268,000 jobs paying less than the real Living Wage.
The chair of our Council, Dr Emyr Roberts, and staff member Mohamed Cheggaf were with me to mark our decision to pay the Real Living Wage and our official accreditation as a Real Living Wage employer.

Full browser ?