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The Global Living Wage Affiliate Network launches with Living Wage for US as its inaugural member

Why do we need a Global Living Wage?  

Today, being employed offers no guarantee of financial safety.  According to the International Labour Organization, over 630 million working people – almost one in five of the world’s employed population – do not earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.  

We believe that a fundamental shift in our approach to tackling inequality is desperately needed. We look forward to working with businesses who aim to be a force for good by implementing Living Wages across their global operations and using their platform to encourage other businesses to join their efforts to ensure workers everywhere can afford to meet their everyday needs. 

This is why the Living Wage Foundation is launching a Global Living Wage (GLW) Affiliate Network, featuring its inaugural member, Living Wage for US

 

What exactly is the Global Living Wage Affiliate Network?  

The GLW Affiliate Network is a group of accreditation bodies from different countries that take an aligned approach with the Living Wage Foundation, offering multinational employers a robust approach to provision of Living Wages across global operations. Members of the network have demonstrated that they have shared values and principles on methodology, calculation, accreditation policy, and compliance. We look forward to growing the network over the coming months to include an increasing number of Living Wage accreditation bodies being established beyond the UK. 

By creating alignment in a range of areas while maintaining local specificity, we can encourage and make it easier for leading multinational employers to take a truly global position on paying a real Living Wage to all their directly employed and contracted staff. 

 

Why Living Wage for US? 

Wages in the United States are profoundly out of line with the basic needs of working families, and over half of Americans are paid less than a Living Wage. Employers are recognising the need to support resilience in their workforces, to better attract and retain workers, raise employee morale and report positive impact. Until now, no national platform existed to recruit, convene, verify and celebrate employers paying a Living Wage, or to help bring these practices into the mainstream of U.S. business norms. This meant employers, policy makers, and advocates were left to apply siloed and sometimes contradictory approaches that fail to bring impact at scale. Living Wage for US now provide clear and consistent Living Wage estimates that account for true costs of living in different parts of the country, guidance on how to implement these within different business models, and a consistent system for recognition and accountability. 

 

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said:  

“The Living Wage Foundation is so pleased to have established the Global Living Wage Affiliate Network and affiliated with Living Wage for US. We know that a coordinated international response is needed on Living Wages globally more than ever. 

We see first-hand the impact that truly collaborative movements can have on addressing in-work poverty with the Living Wage Foundation campaign putting £2bn back into the pockets of low paid workers. Many of our accredited multinational employers are looking at what else they can do to support their workers in other locations and the GLW Affiliate Network will for the first time allow employers to accredit in multiple jurisdictions. 

With over half of Americans earning less than a Living Wage and a federal minimum wage that has remained stagnant since 2009, it’s clear that urgent action is needed to address working poverty across the US.  

Multinational employers are stepping up to meet their responsibilities in supporting achievement of the SDGs, including provision of Living Wages. An aligned approach across multiple countries is a big step in the right direction.” 

 

Michelle Murray, CEO at Living Wage For US said: 

“The Living Wage movement is not confined to any one country. The desire for a basic but decent livelihood for those that work hard to ensure that they can feed their kids, heat their homes, access healthcare, and afford the basics of life from a human rights lens are universally important. At Living Wage For US, we understand the importance of global partnership to advance the living wage movement and are proud to become the first affiliate member of the Global Living Wage Affiliate Network created by the UK Living Wage Foundation. This is a step forward in offering multinational employers an aligned approach to the provision of living wages globally and we are excited to be the first affiliate accepted to the network!” 

 

 

UN Global Compact US Chapter said: 

"Living wage is an essential aspect of decent work — ensuring all workers, families, and communities can live in dignity. The UN Global Compact Network USA celebrates Living Wage for US for becoming an official affiliate of the UK Living Wage Foundation and, thereby, creating a path for companies to commit to closing living wage gaps for workers in the US. This is a significant step in galvanizing a global movement on living wage and ensuring all people everywhere can live lives of dignity and opportunity in societies that are just, peaceful and prosperous."  

 

Namit Agarwal, Social Transformation Lead at the World Benchmarking Alliance, said:

“Paying living wages is a concrete way for businesses to address inequality, though WBA's research has demonstrated that only a 4% of the world's most influential companies have expressed a meaningful commitment on the topic. More action is needed, especially in global supply chains, to ensure that everyone earns a living wage. Through accrediting living wage employers and showcasing successes, the GLW Affiliate Network can promote business action and facilitate the peer-to-peer learning needed to encourage more companies to commit to paying living wages.”


Read what accredited employers in the UK and US have to say...

Kirsty Leighton, Founder & Group CEO of B Corp PR agency, Milk & Honey said 
 
"Our agency is proud to be employee owned, the team are majority shareholders in the business and this people-first approach drives our strategy. Ensuring that we are respecting and protecting our team is paramount. Being an internationally accredited Living Wage employer is part of our external demonstration of our values. 

Working with the Living Wage Foundation has helped guide us through best practice, which differs both culturally and practically by country. For us as an international agency with offices and teams in UK, US and Germany, we are looking to ensure best practice is delivered equitably across our territories. However, navigating differing employment practices, legal jurisdictions, economic realities, takes a professional steer. That is what Living Wage Foundation was able to deliver for us. This accreditation is just the beginning, we want to always test ourselves that we are being fair and equitable to our diverse teams and continue to offer an enriching and rewarding workplace." 

Paul Cohen, CEO of North America added, "Milk & Honey PR gained Living Wage accreditation in the UK several years ago and this commitment was something we were keen to live up to when we opened up in New York 18 months ago. The Global Living Wage project within the Foundation has been so helpful in really guiding us, referring to Living Wage for US and advising on best practice in the US market. Working to navigate the shared values and principles of the Living Wage through the calculations and implementation of best practice." 

 

Interested in learning more? 

You can visit our Global Living Wage Network Affiliate page to find out more, or email global@livingwage.org.uk . You're also invited to join our event to launch the Global Living Wage Affiliate Network on 11 April 2023, 16:00 – 17:00 BST. 

13th March 2023
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