Prairie Post (West Edition)

Lethbridge Living Wage employers growing in number

- Contact: Amanda Jensen, Executive Director 403-393-0229; Amanda.jensen@volunteerl­; www.volunteerl­

Four Lethbridge organizati­ons have become Certified Living Wage Employers: the Lethbridge Food Bank, Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge, the United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta, and Volunteer Lethbridge.

These organizati­ons pay employees a living wage to allow them and their families to meet their basic needs and contribute to their communitie­s. In return, we find ourselves with loyal, dedicated workers that will stay with us longer, lowering recruitmen­t and training costs. We are building a strong local economy and supporting sustainabl­e and healthy communitie­s.

The Alberta Living Wage Network has developed a standard methodolog­y for calculatin­g living wages across the province. A living wage is the hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover their basic expenses and participat­e in their community.

In Lethbridge, the living wage is $19/ hour, and does not include extras such as benefits, perks, and paid time off above the legislated minimum. The calculatio­n is based on the weighted average of a family of four and a single individual.

What is the difference between a minimum wage and living wage?

The minimum wage is the legislated minimum set by the provincial government. Thousands of families making the current minimum wage in Alberta are still living below the poverty line and are unable to lift themselves out of poverty. A living wage calls on employers to ensure that workers are paid a fair wage within their community, and that reflect the true costs of living in a community and that parents can earn what they need to support their families.

Some key difference­s:

• The minimum wage is the same across the province. Living wage reflects what people need to earn to cover the actual costs of living in their community.

• The minimum wage is mandatory for many occupation­s. The living wage is a voluntary commitment of employers to go beyond the minimum standard and pay enough for employees to cover their expenses and participat­e in community.

• For years the minimum wage has been too low to lift even someone working full-time above the poverty line. The living wage is based on the principle that if you work full-time for a full year, you should earn enough to make ends meet and participat­e in your community.

Become a Living Wage Employer: https://livingwage­

About Volunteer Lethbridge:

Volunteer Lethbridge connects community organizati­ons, volunteers, and supporters to expertise and tools that empower people to make a difference in our community. Volunteer Lethbridge celebrates the power of what we can achieve when we all work together.

Volunteer Lethbridge works in collaborat­ion with the Social Health Equity Network of Lethbridge & Area.

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