National Union of Public and General Employees
Vancouver (23 July 2010) - Community Savings Credit Union has become the first financial institution in British Columbia to sign up as a Living Wage Employer.
The living wage differs from the minimum wage, which is the legislated minimum (extremely low in British Columbia) set by the provincial government.
The Living Wage for Families campaign calls on employers to meet a higher standard for both their direct staff and major contractors. It more realistically reflects what people need to support their families based on the actual cost of living in a specific community.
The living wage for Metro Vancouver is calculated on the living expenses of a family with two children and two working parents (the most common family unit in B.C.) and is currently set as $18.17 and hour.
This hourly salary only covers bare bones expenses that a family incurs in a typical year. It does not factor in debt payments, savings for retirement, home ownership, entertainment or many other expenses.
“As a financial institution that has been focused on financially empowering working families for over 65 years, this was an easy decision for us,” said Community Savings’ president and CEO Bruce Cook. “We believe that the Living Wage for Families Campaign will help reduce poverty and foster healthier communities.”
By offering wages and benefits that are above industry average, Community Savings has managed to achieve one of the highest credit union employee retention rates in B.C. The credit union believes that this policy helps attract and retain some of the most talented financial professionals in the industry. The average employee tenure is 11 years.
“Unfortunately, many British Columbians are too familiar with the frustration of working harder only to fall further behind,” said Michael McCarthy Flynn, Living Wage Campaign Organizer. “In many families, the parents are forced to work long hours, often at two or three jobs, just to pay for basic necessities. Currently, British Columbia has the highest child poverty rate in Canada.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good.