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

Any way you slice it, increasing the minimum wage in Michigan… is likely to make it more difficult for the working poor to find jobs. …those who most need the work will have a harder time finding it.

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Kersey, Paul. Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
08/29/2005 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

Be prepared for the creation of an intrusive bureaucracy to police the ordinance by examining the books and payroll ledgers of businesses…

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

Most troubling, though, is the fact that the least skilled employees are those who are being most hurt by this ordinance. Voters in other areas considering an increase in the minimum wage must consider these unintended consequences that end up hurting those who the law is supposed to help.

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Yelowitz, Aaron. Employment Policy Institute.
09/22/2005 | 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.