Living wage already up 40c

February 18, 2014

The ‘living wage’ has increased by 40 cents in just a few months:

The new figure for a living wage was also up from last year, with campaigners saying it now costs $18.80 an hour to feed two adults and two children in New Zealand.

The wage is based on a family with two children, where one adult is working full-time and the other half-time at the same wage.

The calculations come from the Anglican Family Centre research unit and are up 2.1 percent from last year’s estimate of $18.40 an hour. . .

The figures come from surveyed spending of the poorest half of Kiwi families with two adults and two children. Costs are figured on average New Zealand-wide rents for the cheapest quarter of three-bedroom houses and food costs for foods that meet Otago University’s nutritionists’ “basic” diet of nutritious food.

But the ‘living wage’ doesn’t just cover necessities like food and rent. The calculation was based on all sorts of other things the campaigners deem necessary  for a family with two children to participate in society, including overseas trips which most of us would regard as luxuries rather than necessities.
There is a need for an examination of why New Zealand wages aren’t higher and so many families have their incomes topped up by taxpayers.
But the ‘living wage’ which takes no account of the value of the work done is not the answer to that problem and would cost jobs:

. . . Labour Minister Simon Bridges said the figure seemed to be “much more what they feel rather than what good evidence suggests is right”.

He said raising the legal minimum wage to the original figure of $18.40 would cost employers $2.3 billion a year and wipe out 24,000 jobs. . .

A wage of $18.80 would be around $40,000 a year but a family with two children would get Working for Families on top of that.
Increasing the minimum wage to that figure would save taxpayers’ money but would not be affordable for all businesses, and would cover young, single and part-time workers without families.
If the figure has gone up by 40 cents in a few months,  it won’t stop at $18.80 and Labour has already raised the bar.
The party’s baby bribe would go to people earning up to $150,000 which is about $72 an hour.

If they think you need an extra $60 when you have a new baby who costs very little, how long before they think you need at least that when the baby is older?

By Labour’s reckoning the living wage isn’t around $40,000 but $150,00 and climbing.


Should single and childless be paid less?

October 11, 2013

If $18.40 is considered to be a “living wage” for a family, should the single and childless be paid less?

Trans Tasman says:

Employers and Manufacturers Association CEO Kim Campbell has exposed fundamental flaws in the campaign launched by the Anglican Family Centre for a so-called “living wage.” The Anglican proposal of $18.40 gross per hour applies to an average family of 2 adults and 2 children, with one adult working fulltime and one working half-time. Their pay at this rate includes Govt payments such as Working for Families, accommodation supplements, and childcare assistance. Campbell says on this basis many people whose pay is currently based on $15 or $16 an hour already qualify as receiving a “living wage.”

Other groups appear to back the payment of $18.40 gross an hour with the welfare and support payments paid as well. If the top-ups are included the “average family” would receive the equivalent of over $20 gross an hour each. Another fundamental problem with the system proposed by the Anglican Family Centre for low paid workers being paid according to their family circumstances is totally different from the way everyone has been paid for their work.

“People are paid for their work, not for the size of their family. If $18.40 an hour was set as the right amount for a family of 4 with 1½ pay packets, a different rate would be needed for, say, a family of 6 with 1 pay packet, or a 2-person-2 income household, or a single person with 2 jobs. Calculating the many different ‘living wages’ would be a nightmare.” . . .

It would be iniquitous to pay people less because they needed less to support the sort of lifestyle a ‘living wage’ is predicated on.

But is it any better to pay people more than the job they do is worth because their needs, which have nothing at all to do with their work, are greater?

New Zealand would be better off if all wages and salaries were higher but increases must be based on what the work is worth not an artificial construct of what’s needed.


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