Council moves to become accredited Living Wage Employer
Kāpiti Coast District Council unanimously voted at last week’s meeting to take the next steps towards becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer.
The Living Wage is an internationally acknowledged term for a wage which enables workers to live in dignity and participate in society. The Living Wage in Aotearoa New Zealand is currently $23.65 an hour and applies to workers aged 16 years and older. It is voluntary for employers to pay the living wage.
Mayor Janet Holborow acknowledged the Council is already paying its employees the living wage and was working through other steps that would be required to gain accreditation, including developing an implementation plan and exploring the implications for council contracts for service.
“Making sure the people who do work on Council’s behalf can afford to pay basic expenses such as food, transportation, housing, and childcare is important to us.
“It is widely acknowledged that the rising cost of living is placing additional pressure on households and becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer strongly aligns with the outcomes sought in our Long-term Plan,” the Mayor said.
“We want our communities to be resilient, safe, healthy, thriving and connected where everyone has a sense of belonging and can access the resources and services they need.
“By becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer, the Council would be ensuring that anyone directly employed by the Council, or contracted on a regular and on-going basis, receives the income necessary to access the basic necessities of life, and to live with dignity and participate as active citizens in society.”
To become an accredited Living Wage Employer, the Council would need to meet a range of criteria, including making sure that all indirectly paid workers employed by contractors delivering a service to the Council on a regular and on-going basis are either on the current Living Wage or on milestones agreed as part of the licence, before making an application to the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand Accreditation Advisory Board on an annual basis.
Since 2013, several councils have become accredited as Living Wage Employers including Wellington City Council, Hutt City Council, Porirua City Council and Dunedin City Council, all of which adopted the Living Wage and began a staged implementation to accreditation.
“We still have some work to do to estimate the potential cost impacts that may result from the introduction of the Living Wage requirement before we can formally decide to seek accreditation. Today we gave officers a clear steer that we want that work completed and brought back to us as a matter of priority,” the Mayor said.