Number 97 – Advocating for living wages (and working to get it for underpaid staff)

This action is not yet completed (it is a long process), though as it is underway I have decided to include it as part of my challenge.

In New Zealand, the minimum wage is $14.25/hour but the calculated living wage (the wage which allows you to meet your basic needs) is $18.80/hour. There are between 500,000 and 750,000 (that is 10-15% of the population) living in poverty and I really would like to change this. I wish everyone were paid the living wage.

While this is a huge goal, I have decided to make a start in a place I have some influence: recently I discovered the staff at the daycare centre my daughter attends receive wages on or barely above the minimum wage, and as a parent I am on the decision-making team for all of the day care’s operations and activities – including budgeting and wage determination.

So, another mama and I have decided to make it our mission to get all the staff on a living wage, and have been researching how to go about this, including the practical/financial side of it. It will take some time, more research, and communication to the other decision makers, but we are well on track; and by the next staff appraisals (in 2015) we plan for all staff to be paid the living wage.

As part of this act, I have been educating myself about poverty in New Zealand and the living wage, and have also joined the NZ Living Wage Movement (www.livingwage.org.nz), so that I can keep up to date about their work and progress towards a society where there is less poverty and inequality.

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