Council to push for Living Wage accreditation

Environment Canterbury will seek to be recognised as an accredited Living Wage employer.

Councillors voted at a meeting on 28 July to ask staff to begin the process of seeking accreditation. If successful, Environment Canterbury would be the first regional council to achieve accreditation, says Chair Jenny Hughey.

"Making this commitment to paying the Living Wage demonstrates a focus on ensuring all employees and those at contracted providers delivering ongoing services on our sites receive a fair and reasonable wage, supporting people to participate as active citizens in society," Chair Hughey says.

"Our Council has set some strategic priorities for the organisation, and one of those is supporting our local economy. Research has shown that additional wages paid to those on lower incomes are likely to be spent in the local economy, rather than saved, so ensuring people are paid at least the Living Wage will support the wellbeing of our communities."

The Living Wage is an hourly pay rate, determined by independent research from the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit. It is defined as "the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life".

The current living wage rate is $22.75 per hour, equal to an annual full-time salary of $47,320. The rate increases to $23.65 per hour from 1 September 2022. This is above the Government mandated ‘Minimum Wage’ rate of $21.20 per hour (effective April 2022).

In 2021, the Council voted to pay the Living Wage to employees of bus operators meaning all Environment Canterbury public transport contracted drivers and ferry crew working for Ritchies Transport, Black Cat Cruises and Go Bus Transport earn a base wage rate equivalent to the Living Wage.

Accreditation is reviewed annually by Living Wage Aotearoa, which is made up of community/secular, union, and faith-based groups.