$20.20 vision: Living Wage for 2017

The recalculated Living Wage hourly rate for 2017 is $20.20 per hour. This is an increase of 40 cents on the 2016/17 rate of $19.80 and is in line with the average movement in wages. This compares with the Minimum Wage which increases on April 1 by 50 cents or 3.3% to $15.75 per hour.

The Living Wage is defined as: The income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. A living wage will enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society.

The original Living Wage announced in 2013 was based on expenditure items for a modest weekly budget.Once the Living Wage rate became a wage mechanism within the labour market, it was decided that annual updates between five yearly reviews should reflect wage movements.

Wage movement is reported by Statistics New Zealand in the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES). To be consistent, the annual update is based on the percentage wage movement for the year to June the previous year which is the originalbecause when the first Living Wage was calculated the year to June was the most up-to- date figure.

The QES measures the average hourly wage bill across all jobs in New Zealand. The average ordinary time hourly earnings for the year to June 2016 increased 2.1 percent from the year to June 2015. This is a smaller percentage than the 2017 increase in the minimum wage of 3.27 percent. 

The movement in the average ordinary time hourly rate, as provided by the QES, was 2.1 percent leading to an estimate of $20.22 which was rounded down to $20.20. The rate is calculated by the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit.  

Charles Waldegrave of the Family Centre says: This figure sits modestly at 68 percent of the average hourly earnings in New Zealand ($29.62) for the same quarter. The QES does not provide median hourly earnings. The redeveloped Household Labour Force Survey showed the NZ 
Living Wage to be 86 percent of median hourly earnings from wages and salaries ($23.49).

Across the country workers’ lives will be transformed with a new Living Wage rate. Fuifui Anae is a parking officer employed by Wellington City Council.

Fui knows what it’s like to struggle on a low income. He was brought up by a solo mum and has worked in minimum wage jobs.  Until July 2014 the Wellington City Council parking officers were on rates very close to the minimum wage.

Fui and his partner have three young children.

“As a father of young kids, it was tough, never providing what is enough for my kids
” he said. “Rent was always high, food prices always up and the kids needed many things for school. We lived from pay to pay.”

As a direct outcome of the Living Wage campaign at Wellington City Council, the parking officers were brought in-house and are now on $18.63 an hour. The new council has made a firm commitment to lift the rate to the current NZ Living Wage rate. This will mean a life-transforming pay rise of around 40% in three years for the parking officers.

Says Fui: “The Living Wage has improved my life. I’ve managed to set goals for my family. The highlight for me was to manage to buy a house for my family, thanks to the Living wage. Owning my own house was unthinkable when I was on the minimum wage and now I can provide healthy food for my children and fund their school trips.”
If we win the Living Wage, I will be able to work
fewer hours and take up photography again in my
spare time. 
Abdullah (university cleaner)

I would love to be able to visit my family back
home in Samoa for the first time since 2010.
A Living Wage would help me to save for that.

Situa (council cleaner)

I would be able to spend more time with my
husband and children. Family time is so important.

Aki (right) and colleague
Support Round the Bays Auckland
Give a Little and Grow the Movement!

Living Wage Auckland are getting together to run Round the Bays and fundraise for the campaign!

Wearing our bright red Living Wage t-shirts, we'll be running or walking the 8.4 kms around Tāmaki Drive to raise for money to support the movement. By making a donation today you will join the growing Living Wage Movement in its mission to reduce poverty and inequality in our society. 
Mayor lends support to communities in Whanganui
Around 40 people from faith groups, unions and community organisations attended a public meeting on the Living Wage in Whanganui last week. The local Mayor, Deputy Mayor and some councillors also attended and gave their support to the Living Wage principle.  The meeting was organised by local Quakers, who, along with the union E Tū and other supporters have been taking the first steps to build a local Living Wage movement.  Bill, a local school caretaker shared his moving story of living on low wages in Whanganui and his impossible dream of being able to own a home.  There was strong support to campaign to lift the wages of local workers like Bill and to reach out to the wider community and unite around local Living Wage movement.
Strong Living Wage support for Wellington’s Round the Bays
Local Wellington Living Wage supporters formed a big team for the annual Round the Bays event in the weekend.  Unions Wellington, a member organisation of the Living Wage movement, organised this event for the second year in a row.  Wellington City Councillor, Brian Dawson, and Deputy Mayor, Paul Eagle, supported the team. Unions Wellington raised over $750 in sponsorship of the team. This will pay their annual membership fee and provide some funds for Living Wage Wellington Region’s organising and campaigning activities.
Follow us on twitter with @LivingWageNZ @LWEmployerNZ,  check out our updated website and follow us on Facebook: Living Wage Employer  and  Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand

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