When asked: ‘Should we raise the minimum wage?’ My answer is the minimum wage should be higher to reflect more of a livable wage. A livable wage reflects the minimum income needed for a worker to meet their basic needs in their community without public assistance and is integral to the survival of individual families. Also, the economic activity that derives from employees earning a livable wage is a primary generator of the overall economic growth of the nation.
Minimum Wage vs. Livable Wage
The current minimum wage across my State of North Carolina is $7.25 per hour. Using a livable wage calculator, it is easy to see how difficult it is to live on minimum wage across the United States. The livable wage of Durham County, where I proudly live and work, is:
- 1 Adult livable wage = $10.68 per hour
- 1 Adult with 1 child livable wage = $22.31 per hour
- 2 Adults 1 Working with 1 child livable wage = $21.14
It is my strong belief in the livable wage concept that led me to join the Durham Living Wage Project, not only as a founding company member, but also in service as a steering committee member for the organization. Through my work with the Durham Living Wage Project, I have seen the following benefits of a living wage:
- Employers who pay a living wage see lower turnover, a more motivated workforce and increased goodwill of the community
- Employees who receive a living wage have the chance to now move from poverty towards meeting the basic needs of their family
- Low-wage earners typically spend their money locally, when they make more they are able to support local business, which creates more jobs and strengthens a community
I believe everyone who works hard deserves to earn a livable wage.