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Are you paying a fair wage?

Are you paying a fair wage?

Friday 30 January 2015

Are you paying a fair wage?

Friday 30 January 2015

Getting businesses to pay a fair wage would save the taxpayer millions in benefits, according to one States Deputy who is campaigning for a "Living Wage" for Jersey.

The minimum wage goes up to £6.78 per hour in April but Deputy Andrew Lewis says that’s not enough to live on and wants bosses to voluntarily commit to paying staff closer to £8.50 an hour instead.

Deputy Lewis said: “As a businessman, I understand the pressures on companies to keep wages down, however, I believe there is a minimum that all firms should pay their staff and the current minimum wage falls short.

“I’m therefore asking that more companies voluntarily commit to pay a living wage and in so doing, not only will their customers know that they are dealing with a fair employer but pressure on our government to supplement low incomes will be greatly reduced.”

He’s now in discussions with the Living Wage Foundation with a view to rolling out their campaign here.

He says a living wage will be good for the Island’s economy as taxpayers won’t be bailing out those companies who are not paying their staff enough.

He said: “Currently, the island spends millions on supplementation of social security payments as well as income support, which is effectively a subsidy for private businesses that don’t pay their staff a fair wage. The economic benefits don’t stop there. As people earn more, they spend more which helps support other businesses and also returns greater revenue to the Treasury through increased GST and income tax receipts.

“In last week’s debate on the minimum wage, those who opposed a greater rise constantly referred to the agriculture industry as being at risk if the minimum wage rose too fast. I don’t believe that individual, relatively small areas of the economy should stop islanders from receiving a living wage, however if the minimum wage were to be raised to a living wage standard, exemptions could be made for specific sectors such as agriculture.

“Ultimately, the issue of a living wage is one of fairness. If we are asking people to work in Jersey, then we should pay them enough to live here, which sadly, is something that the minimum wage doesn’t do.”

You can find out more about the Living Wage Foundation here.

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