Living wage issues

Why Mennonite Savings and Credit Union decided to pay employees above the minimum wage

$964 million/20,451-member Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, with 170 full-time equivalents, is one of 80 employers in its area that have signed on, voluntarily, to pay their employees a living wage. A wage that, says Brent Zorgdrager, CEO of Mennonite Savings and CU in Kitchener, Ontario, is higher than the minimum wage.

“It fits with the values of a credit union in a general sense,” says Zorgdrager. “That was certainly where it was a match for us.” Mennonite Savings and CU, he says, is a very value-based credit union; one of those values is standing for social justice. This movement, therefore, was a direct fit.

“In our province the minimum wage is $11.25/hour and in our region the living wage is $16.05 so the living wage is a premium of $4.80/hour or a premium of 43 percent over the minimum wage,” explains Zorgdrager.

According to Living Wage Waterloo Region, “the living wage is calculated as the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers have been added to the family’s income and deductions have been subtracted.”

continue reading »