Living Wages

Living Wages

Living wage policies have been established in cities, counties, school districts, states and other public agencies throughout the country to lift workers out of poverty.  Most living wage laws set minimum wage and benefit standards for public contracts, subsidies and leaseholders on public land. Several are based upon a geographic zone. Today there are over 150 such laws in place.


Living Wage has brought good competition to Los Angeles International Airport

L.A.'s Living Wage Ordinance Isn't a Job Killer

September 21, 2011
minimum wage photo

Crying Wolf Over Higher Wages in a Time of Need

December 09, 2010

Cry Wolf Quotes

The proposed living-wage ordinance, before Detroit voters Nov. 3, on the surface, seems admirable. But one doesn't need to look beyond its title to find seriously flawed logic. The same jobs that the measure's proponents are seeking to promote, in reality, will likely disappear.

Editorial, Crain’s Detroit Business.
11/02/1998 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

If the proposed ordinance is adopted it will hurt small women- and minority-owned businesses the most, the majority of which are already struggling mightily to do business in this city of higher-than-average costs of doing business.

Randy Hamilton professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Oakland Tribune.
11/24/1997 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

I believe employers should be aware that employees who earn under $10 an hour cannot lead an independent life. But I do not believe that government should dictate wages. We have seen this fail in Socialist and Communist countries. It will do irreparable harm.

Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan, New York Times.
11/19/1999 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

By mandating an even higher minimum, the living wage prices even more people out of work. The people who push these cockamamie ideas never seem to ask why any employer would hire someone at $8.23 if that person's services are only valued in the marketplace at, say, $5.00.

Lawrence W. Reed. Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
05/03/1999 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

Related Laws and Rules


Backgrounders & Briefs

Living Wage Policy Brief: Stephanie Luce

Living wage ordinances have helped thousands of workers and tiresome cry wolf claims are wrong.


Political Economy Research Institute is a think tank focused on a variety of subjects such as diverse financial regulation, living wages and environmental protection.

University of California-Berkeley Labor Center carries out research on labor and workplace-related issues.

The National Employment Law Project is an organization that promotes economically just public policy in the face of the prevailing trends of the law several decades.