12 Jun 2013

Wellington council supports idea of 'Living Wage'

10:16 pm on 12 June 2013

Wellington's mayor says paying council workers the 'Living Wage' would be a small step towards reducing inequality in the capital.

A report to the city council suggests staff be paid at least $18.40 per hour after they have worked 4000 hours.

Celia Wade-Brown.

Celia Wade-Brown. Photo: SUPPLIED

At draft annual plan discussions on Wednesday, councillors voted to support the principle of a Living Wage and put aside $250,000 over the next two years to implement it from 1 January 2014.

It would apply to those directly employed by the council, council-controlled organisations and contractors.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said it is a step towards a strong, healthy, successful economy that is not at the expense of the most vulnerable.

Ms Wade-Brown says Wellington has the highest per capita average wage, but some people still have to take on two or three jobs and miss out on important activities such as parent-teacher interviews or coaching sports just to make ends meet.

Councillor Iona Pannett says introducing the Living Wage would show employees they are valued.

However, Councillor Ngaire Best says she doesn't believe enough information has been gathered for an informed decision.

Ms Best says while there are clear social benefits for those who will receive the wage, the impact of the employment market and economy is not clear.

The recommendation will go to a full council meeting for a final vote.