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.

Commentary

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 stated goal behind the living wage movement is poverty reduction, and many of the ordinances mandate a wage that would lift a family of four above the poverty level. However, as with minimum wage increases, economic studies have shown that living wage mandates do more harm than good to those living in poverty through resulting job elimination and shifting entry-level jobs from lower-skilled workers to higher-skilled workers.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
02/20/2004 | 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.

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

The loony-tuners are at it again. The cost of doing business in Oakland is already about the highest in the state. Compared with other cities, adoption of the proposed [living wage] ordinance will drive the cost off the charts.

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

By forcing employers to pay higher wages for entry-level jobs, Boston's City Council is also encouraging them to only hire applicants with the skill levels needed to match those wages. No amount of political grandstanding is going to repeal that economic law.

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Richard Berman, letter to the Washington Times.
08/16/1997 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

Related Laws and Rules

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

Living Wage Policy Brief: Stephanie Luce

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

Resources

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.