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Pros and cons of living wage examined

Hannah Lutz

February 06, 2020

According to www.nytimes.com, living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet his basic needs. Living wage is important because it allows people to live where they want with adequate housing, clothing, and food. Living wage can vary depending on where a person lives.

In 2019, The Department of Health and Human Services set the federal poverty level at $25,750 a year for a family of four, which is equal to $12.38 per hour for a person who works 40 hours a week. This means a worker making the minimum wage of $9.00 per hour would be below the poverty level.

If a living wage were available as opposed to minimum wage, workers would be more motivated to do a good job at their place of work. It would also increase recruitment and employee loyalty. Paying a living wage is a way that a company could show the community that they not only care, but also value the lives of their employees.

Not only would employees be happier, they’d also feel less financially stressed. Less stress results in improved health, work ethic, and an overall improvement in the quality of life for the worker and their family.

A living wage would bring thousands of workers out of poverty and into a comfortable life. Minimum wage just isn’t enough for a person to live comfortably.

However, if  we were to make it so everyone starts out at a living wage, no one would be motivated to improve. Minimum wage is not meant to cover all costs of living; it’s basically a stepping stone to better oneself and learn more skills that will entitle a person to a better pay.

The reason places like McDonalds or subway start an employee out at minimum wage is because essentially anyone can do these jobs. Why would a company pay a lot of money to one person to do a job that everyone is capable of doing? If low skilled workers are given an actual cost of living pay rate, there won’t be a reason for them to become more skilled and the rest of society will have to carry them financially.

The more skills one acquires, the more valuable he is to a company. This is a major reason college is stressed so much. A high end company such as google, is much more likely to hire a person with a degree, as opposed to someone who graduated high school and chose not to pursue anything afterwards.

One of the greatest things about capitalism is that no matter what situation a person is in, there is always a way to pull himself out of poverty. Sometimes what stops people in poverty from getting out of it is excuses.

Regardless of whether an individual is making minimum wage or a living wage, he needs to work for improvement.

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