The living wage in the Cowichan Valley in 2021 is $19.13 an hour according to Living Wage BC and Social Planning Cowichan.
That’s an increase of 5.4 per cent, or nearly a dollar, above 2019’s figure that was calculated to be $18.15 an hour.
Due to the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, Living Wage BC did not conduct a living wage calculation for 2020.
The Living Wage calculation is based on a standard formula across British Columbia for the minimum amount of earnings required to cover the costs of shelter, transportation, food, clothing, and other basic needs of two parents working full time with two children.
The living wage is a conservative estimate representing a bare minimum of what a family needs to earn in order to cover a very modest amount of expenses.
The living wage in Nanaimo in 2021 is $16.33, $20.46 for Greater Victoria, $20.52 for Metro Vancouver, $16.44 for the Comox Valley and $18.55 for Penticton.
Ryan Watson, from Social Planning Cowichan, said the SPC encourages all the businesses in the Cowichan Valley to compensate their staff at the living wage rate that has been calculated for the region.
He said paying staff a living wage benefits employers and the community at large in numerous ways.
“Studies have shown that in adopting a living-wage policy, businesses see improved job quality for their staff, better productivity and delivery of service to clients and customers as stresses on staff resulting from economic uncertainty are reduced with higher pay,” Watson said.
“This also leads to lower rates of absenteeism and a reduction in employee turnover, creating savings in hiring and training, which also help contribute to higher output. Businesses also benefit from increased local spending in general, as much of the increase in income for staff will contribute to a stimulated, robust local economy. Lastly, businesses paying a living wage experience a greater social responsibility and reputation as a respected employer of choice, which is key in attracting and retaining a talented and motivated workforce.”
Watson said that in the new year, businesses in the Cowichan Valley Regional District can become a certified Cowichan Living Wage Employer by adopting a living-wage policy for all employees and sub-contractors.