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Hamilton, Ontario: City eyes living wage for workers
The Hamilton Spectator

December 12, 2011
View the Original Article

The city is moving closer to paying its employees a living wage — not a minimum wage.

City staff are investigating how much it would cost to pay its employees $14.95 per hour rather than $10.25 per hour. They will be coming back to council in mid-2012 with a report outlining several options for paying city staff — including boards and agencies such as police, library and HECFI staff — a living wage.

Anti-poverty advocates told council Monday that 30,000 workers in Hamilton are employed, but still live in poverty.

A living wage in Hamilton allows for necessities such as food, shelter, utilities, childcare, medical and dental costs and transportation. It also includes allowances for other items such as Internet service, occasional social outings and an annual modest vacation in Ontario.

It does not include any savings, such as for children’s education or retirement, home ownership or debt repayment.

Anti-poverty advocates say the benefits of paying employees a living wage include reduced absenteeism, lower staff turnover and increased morale and productivity.