In many developing countries wages are often below the minimum threshold to live a decent life. This means that workers and their families cannot meet basic needs such as housing, nutritious food or education, and remain poor. In an attempt to fill this income gap, workers may work excessive overtime which can result in mental and physical well being risks that puts the whole family in a vulnerable position. By receiving a living wage, workers can ‘work their way out of poverty’ and provide their families a decent standard of living.
From the business perspective, by paying a living wage a healthy economic cycle is established, allowing people to purchase goods and services. This is a fundamental aspect for a dynamic and resilient community, which in turn plays an important part for businesses’ sustainability, continuity and stability. Also, living wages may increase social mobility, which gives people greater opportunities to start up their own businesses, contributing to their communities.
Our approach is focused on the facilitation of implementing living wages. We do this with industry partners and in partnership with the Global Living Wage Coalition, through a range of approaches that could be possibly replicated and scaled.
Through detailed project cases, we provide examples of how we work to create room for the payment of living wages to workers. Explore the case study series below.
What is a living wage?
The remuneration received for a standard workweek by a worker in a particular place sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and her or his family. Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs including provision for unexpected events.
How are living wages estimated?
The Anker Methodology is a widely accepted and published methodology to estimate living wages that is both internationally comparable and locally specific. It was developed by living wage experts Richard Anker (formerly ILO) and Martha Anker (formerly WHO), who spent over 15 years testing and perfecting the various aspects of the methodology. Through the work of the Global Living Wages Coalition, the methodology has been applied to estimate living wages in twenty countries around the world.