Northumberland United Way has become a living wage employer receiving certification through The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN).
This certification, awarded by OLWN, recognizes employers across the province that commit to paying employees at least the living wage in the community where they reside. A living wage is calculated by the OLWN to show how much a household—two adults working full time supporting two small children—must earn per hour in order to make ends meet and enjoy modest participation in their civic and cultural community. The living wage for the County of Northumberland has been calculated at $18.06 per hour, $3.81 higher than Ontario’s current minimum wage at $14.25 per hour.
“As an organization that prioritizes poverty reduction in our community, we believe it’s important that we also pay all of our employees a fair living wage to make ends meet while being active members of our community,” says Bobbie Dawson, CEO, Northumberland United Way. “We’re thrilled to be a living wage employer locally and encourage other employers to join us. Paying a living wage can also lead to happier workers, less turnover, and fewer missed workdays while being a part of a collective action to reduce poverty in our community.”
Living wage is a practical tool to reduce poverty through paid working, ensuring that if you work full-time, full year you can earn enough to not only cover basic needs.
‘The OLWN is pleased to welcome Northumberland United Way to the list of over 390 certified living wage employers in Ontario. Beyond just certified employers themselves, local United Ways have been early and important champions of the living wage. Without local organizers and advocates with real connections to their communities, we wouldn’t have as many certified employers—and employees now earning at least a living wage—as there are today,” says Anne Coleman, Program Manager of the OLWN.
Northumberland United Way’s commitment to paying a living wage ensures that all employees are paid a living wage including summer students and part-time staff members.
“We believe successful kids are the future of our community and so we recognize the importance of paying our student employees fairly,” says Bobbie. “Post-secondary education is expensive, and many students rely on the dollars they make during the summer to support their educational goals. This is another way we can help students and recent graduates.”
For many years, the minimum wage has been too low to lift even someone who is employed full-time above the poverty line. In the 29 calculated regions in Ontario, it takes much more than $15 an hour to cover basic expenses like housing, transportation, and food.
To learn more about The Ontario Living Wage Network, visit www.ontariolivingwage.ca/ and employers who are interested in becoming Living Wage certified can begin the process at OLWN’s employer signup.
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